Tahiti leader dismisses decolonisation calls

1:56 pm on 5 October 2016

French Polynesia's president Edouard Fritch has told a UN decolonisation debate in New York that the world would know if France was a colonial state with a colonial attitude.

The UN reinscribed French Polynesia on the decolonisation list in 2013 in a move France labelled as glaring interference by the UN.

In his first speech to the UN's Fourth Committee, Mr Fritch said the pro-independence camp never had a majority of voters backing it, but was in power because of a coalition with anti-independence politicians.

Edouard Fritch addresses the UN decolonisation debate

Edouard Fritch says anti-independence politicians have public support Photo: supplied / French Polynesian Presidency

He also said France has agreed to revise the autonomy statue to clarify that the resources within its exclusive economic zone belong to the territory and not to France.

Mr Fritch says France has accepted responsibility for the damage caused by its nuclear weapons tests and has been paying the territory US$180m a year since 1996.

He says French Polynesia has been accepted as a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, whose members considers it now as their equal.

Mr Fritch says social inequality in French Polynesia is of its own making and not the result of what he describes as imaginary colonialism.