French Polynesia president opposes government pay cuts

11:26 am on 20 April 2020

The French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch says he is against across-the-board pay cuts for ministers and assembly members as suggested by the opposition's Tony Geros.

Edouard Fritch

Edouard Fritch Photo: Supplied/ Présidence de la Polynésie française

Mr Geros said that as a gesture of solidarity with those out of work because of the Covid-19 outbreak, assembly members could drop their incomes to the minimum pay.

The cut was suggested after New Zealand government ministers last week agreed to reduce their salaries by 20 percent for six months.

Mr Fritch told Tahiti Nui TV that in this context there should be no hint of politics, but it should be up to the individual to make a personal decision and to remain spontaneous with a strong gesture.

He said this should not be a decision of a group, and nobody should be forced to contribute.

Mr Fritch, however, said that considering French Polynesians stranded overseas, a fund has been set up to accept donations, with a local member of the French National Assembly Maina Sage contributing just over $US2000.

He indicated government ministers would add $US5000.

Last month, one of Mr Geros' assembly colleagues Moetai Brotherson already suggested that members' salaries be cut and the money given to a solidarity fund.

Unemployment is feared to soar with the collapse of the tourism industry.

No commercial flights to Tahiti are expected before June.