25 Jun 2013

Call for simultaneous French Polynesia and New Caledonia referendums

1:42 pm on 25 June 2013

French Polynesia's opposition pro-independence leader has called on New Caledonia's pro-independence movement to consider holding a self-determination referendum in both territories at the same time.

The proposal was made by Oscar Temaru during last week's address to the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Noumea.

He says he wonders if New Caledonia's Kanaks can wait and aim for such a joint plebiscite, which he says should still be held before the end of the term of the French president, Francois Hollande.

Under the Noumea Accord, an independence referendum in New Caledonia can be held betwen 2014 and 2018.

Last month, the UN General Assembly reinscribed French Polynesia on the list of territories to be decolonised.

Mr Temaru says together the two French territories have enormous resources and potential, which is coveted by what he calls the big sharks cruising the oceans.