25 May 2018

France launches online New Caledonia unity campaign

8:28 pm on 25 May 2018

The French government has launched online consultation in New Caledonia to help foster a sense of unity in the face of November's independence referendum.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets locals in New Caledonia

French President Emmanuel Macron meets locals in New Caledonia Photo: AFP or licensors

People are being asked to tell the French High Commission by mid-June what they consider to be the values shared by all the territory's communities.

The aim of the exercise is to provide evidence of what unites New Caledonians.

An anti-independence politician Philippe Dunoyer says the opportunity should be grasped to show what brings New Caledonians together is more important than what keeps them apart.

A pro-independence politician Louis Mapou says his side has already been campaigning on the idea of shared values and the findings could be turned into a preamable of a new constitution of Kanaky-New Caledonia.

As part of the Noumea Accord, a new hymn has been adopted but plans to agree on a flag have faltered.

In 2011, a dispute over which flag should be flown triggered the government to collapse three times in four weeks.

In the last referendum on independence in 1987, more than 98 percent voted to stay with France.