8 Apr 2019

New Caledonia employers gloomy about economy

4:31 am on 8 April 2019
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Photo: RNZ Pacific / Walter Zweifel

New Caledonia's main employer organisation has warned of severe economic problems exacerbated by the possibility of two more referendums on independence from France.

An annual meeting of the MEDEF group was told that structural problems were such that New Caledonia risks going bankrupt.

Its head Daniel Ochida said there were too many regulations which stifle businesses.

He said despite assurances to the contrary, the level of public expenditure was unsustainable.

His address came as campaigning is gaining momentum for the election of new provincial assemblies next month after which a new Congress will be formed for a five-year term.

The new Congress is all but certain to set in motion the process for another referendum next year.

Mr Ochida said last year's referendum already cooled investment and more such votes would be a final blow.

A guest speaker, former New Zealand politician Chris Finlayson, attributed New Zealand's economic turnaround to the deregulation of the 1980s and to a firm framework based on the rule of law.

Noumea bank

Noumea bank Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel