1 Sep 2016

Disruptions amid New Caledonia tax debate

6:45 pm on 1 September 2016

Services in New Caledonia have been disrupted to coincide with a Congress debate about a comprehensive tax reform.

Some schools are closed, flights cancelled and many post offices shut after a call for a general strike to pressure Congress to adopt the reform.

A call for a march by a union umbrella group was followed by thousands of people who gathered outside the Congress building in Noumea.

The Congress adopted the plan to introduce a three-tiered consumption tax which will replace a raft of levies, including the import tax, from 1 July next year.

The reform package also includes a competition clause which would set a ceiling on the margin that can be charged.

However, employers are opposed to the competition segment and Congress is yet to debate it.

The demonstrators insist that the competition mustn't be separated from the package.

The drive for the tax reform stems from years of concern about the high cost of living, which prompted repeated massive protests culminating in a 12-day general strike three years ago.