10 Apr 2012

Experts to analyse New Caledonia market to counter high costs

6:40 am on 10 April 2012

A team of French experts sent to New Caledonia will today begin examining the perceived lack of competition seen as the cause for the high cost of living.

The mission's launch comes nearly a year after unprecedented demonstrations across New Caledonia which saw 25,000 people protest against high prices.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"For the next two weeks, the French experts will examine how the territory's markets work and how prices are set by wholesalers and importers. The effort is linked to a special commission set up by the territorial government and the union movement to modernise the economy and find ways of keeping prices in check. Unions have suggested regulating retail prices for hundreds of products to add to measures already in place such as a rent freeze and the lowering of charges for internet use. Among proposals being mooted are also a tax on the main resource, which is nickel, as well as on capital."