French delegation's nuke test site tour labelled 'free tourism'

9:07 am on 2 October 2018

French Polynesia's nuclear test veterans organisation says the latest visit by a French delegation appears designed to drag out the compensation process.

The 10-strong group has been travelling to the Tuamotus to collect testimony about the impact of the nuclear weapons tests as the French government is preparing loosening the terms to pay compensation.

The group, made of parliamentarians and ministerial representatives, has already met with the government.

Roland Oldham, head of Mururoa e Tatou

Roland Oldham, head of Mururoa e Tatou Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

Roland Oldham of the organisation Moruroa e Tatou said as hundreds of claims were filed years ago, such a trip makes little sense.

"We do think that this delegation of parliamentarians came to Tahiti to go to the islands for some kind of free tourism. The taxpayer pays for the ticket and they come and have a little holiday. We don't need any more reports, we just need compensation."

The group's head Lana Tetuanui told local media last week their visit might be seen as late but as the heirs of the bomb, they would do their part.

But Mr Oldham said the government's dependence on France stopped it from pushing hard for compensation for the weapons tests.

He said says the compensation law had been there since the beginning of the decade but with little benefit to the victims.

"They don't have the courage in front of the French government.

"There are many reasons," he said.

"The first big reason is that the government here is still very dependent on the French government, dependent all the funding for different things and projects of our local government."