18 Jan 2020

French Polynesia's Temaru calls for France to 'tell truth' about nuclear testing

11:58 am on 18 January 2020
Oscar Temaru

Oscar Temaru Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says the smoke from Australia's bushfires is concrete evidence that fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti.

Smoke from Australia this month drifted over the south of French Polynesia after crossing New Zealand.

Mr Temaru says this is more than proof that fallout from France's atmospheric nuclear weapons tests at Moruroa spread while France maintains they didn't affect Tahiti.

He has again called on France to tell the full truth about this dark chapter of history.

Until 1974 France detonated 46 atomic bombs over Moruroa and Fangataufa before continuing the tests with underground blasts.

France maintained until a decade ago that its nuclear tests were clean and posed no risk to human health.

A law brought in in 2010 offered compensation but its criteria were widely seen as too narrow because most applications by those suffering poor health were thrown out.

Its revision was changed again, leaving veterans organisations still dismayed.

Mr Temaru made the comments as his Tavini Huiraatira party is campaigning for the March municipal election.

However, Mr Temaru is yet to say whether he will seek re-election to the mayoralty of Faaa which he has held since 1983.

Among the candidates known so far are two assembly members of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party.