14 Oct 2019

New Caledonian representative says 2018 referendum positive

6:37 am on 14 October 2019

A pro-independence New Caledonian representative has told the United Nations that last year's referendum on independence from France was positive because 80 percent of indigenous Kanaks voted.

The FLNKS flag widely used in New Caledonia

The FLNKS flag widely used in New Caledonia Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

Speaking in New York, Mickael Forrest of the FLNKS told the UN decolonisation committee his movement was joined it its campaign for independence by people from other groups.

Mr Forrest said they lost the battle of numbers but won the political battle.

Last year, just under 57 percent voted against independence, defying poll predictions which expected more than 70 to vote for the status quo.

Mr Forrest also said the problems with the electoral rolls were scandalous and they needed to be tidied up for the next referendum in 2020.

He also decried what he called the massive organised immigration into New Caledonia.

After the Second World War, France extended voting rights to New Caledonia's indigenous Kanak people but because of immigration in the following decades it became a minority, accounting for just under 40 percent of the population.

New Caledonia was reinscribed on the UN decolonisation list in 1986 and French Polynesia in 2013.