2 Mar 2016

French PM puts off New Caledonia visit

3:26 pm on 2 March 2016

The French prime minister Manuel Valls has deferred his planned visit to New Caledonia until next month.

Mr Valls was due in Noumea next week but reports say he is to stay in Paris to meet employers and unions as labour laws are being reformed.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Photo: AFP

The prime minister was due to discuss preparations for New Caledonia's independence referendum due by 2018 and the situation of the nickel sector, which is the territory's economic backbone.

Last month, Mr Valls chaired meetings with New Caledonian leaders in Paris, vowing that the state would guarantee that the loss-making SLN nickel plant could continue to operate.