10 Oct 2012

Martin tells UN balance in New Caledonia still key issue

3:14 pm on 10 October 2012

New Caledonia's president, Harold Martin, has told the UN Decolonisation Committtee in New York that his government's priority is to create greater balance in the territory, both economically and socially.

Mr Martin says despite the global economic crisis, New Caledonia is on track for annual growth of 2.5 percent while having little unemployment.

In his account of recent developments, Mr Martin pointed to this year's electoral success of the Caledonia Together Party, which he says developped a strong anti-independence line over the joint use of both the Kanak and French flags.

He says the rejection of the Kanak flag shows that people of mainly European origin are distrustful of the territory's institutional future.

Mr Martin says the impact of this has been that the campaign for the territory's 2014 general election has already been launched.

Under the 1998 Noumea Accord, a referendum on independence is possible as early as 2014.