9 Nov 2017

Joint declaration sought on common New Caledonian heritage

8:41 pm on 9 November 2017

There has been a call for New Caledonia's politicians of all hues to agree on a joint declaration about their common heritage.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island. Photo: AFP

The territory is due to hold a referendum on independence from France within a year amid growing concern about the outcome of the vote.

New Caledonia's two members of the French National Assembly said that before the vote, a strong gesture should be made to state what unites everybody and what values are shared.

Philippe Gomes and Philippe Dunoyer said discussions to this end could be started at the end of the month when the French prime minister Edouard Philippe is due in Noumea.

Mr Gomes warned of trouble if the vote reduced people to only consider what they oppose.

He said they all had about five months to find such common ground before a formal meeting to decide on the exact wording of the referendum question.

Last week, New Caledonia's politicians and the French state agreed after years of discussions on who will be allowed to take part in the referendum.