26 Feb 2013

Flosse dismisses multi-billion China loan plan for Tahiti

6:58 pm on 26 February 2013

French Polynesia's Tahoeraa Huiraatira has categorically dismissed claims that it plans to get a five-billion US dollar loan from China for large-scale projects.

This had been repeatedly suggested by Teva Rohfritsch, who leads a new rival anti-independence grouping into the territorial elections in two months.

After first ignoring the claim by the A Tia Porinetia leader, the Tahoeraa has issued a statement, asking who could be so stupid as to believe such an enormous story when the territory struggles to repay its current loan of less than a billion dollars.

The Tahoeraa says instead of pretending to comment on its election manifesto, Mr Rohfritsch should outline his programme and say whether he is in favour of an income tax and whether he is for the introduction of unemployment benefits.

It says he can give no answer without first consulting his coalition members who used to make up the now defunct To Tatou Aia.

The A Tia Porinetia and the Tahoeraa are seen as frontrunners in the anti-independence camp, although a ruling expected in France's highest appeals court before the end of the year could see the jailing of the Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, for corruption.