21 Aug 2014

New Caledonia ponders reforms

7:29 pm on 21 August 2014

A major conference has been underway in New Caledonia on efforts to introduce reforms to revive the economy and reduce inequality.

The meeting is attended by most political parties as well as employers and unions but is being boycotted by the pro-independence Caledonian Union.

The president, Cynthia Ligeard, says the territory has a budget problem at a time of a slowing economy, resulting in tangible unease.

The economy grew at 3.4 percent for the decade until 2011 but has lost momentum.

While 17 percent of households are now in poverty, prices are about a third higher than in mainland France.

An employers's representative says after years of indecision there is no choice but to make changes.