25 Nov 2014

French Polynesia compo bid queried

5:06 pm on 25 November 2014

There's speculation a move by French Polynesia's assembly to seek a huge compensation payout from France could simply be a power play to usurp the territory's president.

The assembly is poised to ask France for 930 million US dollars for environmental damage caused by nuclear weapons testing.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says the bid for compensation could be former president Gaston Flosse's way of making a power play through new assembly leader Marcel Tuihani.

Mr Du Prel says French Polynesia's president, Edouard Fritch, did not know of the assembly's plans.

"So Mr Fritch went on television last night and he said he was amazed by this motion, that he didn't know about it, and how it, how you say, sabotaged with the relationship with Paris, which he just spent six months to build up again."

Edouard Fritch

Edouard Fritch Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

Alex Du Prel says the motion will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.