5 Jun 2020

Discord among New Caledonia loyalists over French covid loan

4:06 pm on 5 June 2020

New Caledonia's members of the French National Assembly have castigated the government in Noumea for the rescue package it accepted from Paris in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Caledonia Together party celebrates its tenth anniversary

Caledonia Together Photo: FB Caledonie Ensemble

Philippe Gomes and Philippe Dunoyer, who belong to the anti-independence Caledonia Together party, said the $US270 million loan from the French Development Agency was obtained under conditions they likened to usury.

Paying more in interest than French borrowers, they said President Thierry Santa abandoned New Caledonia's sovereignty in terms of fiscal, health and social matters.

They warned that to repay the debt over 25 years New Caledonia would need to levy $US165 million in additional taxes by 2021 which they said would kill the economy and increase the social divide.

However, the government spokesperson Christophe Gyges dismissed the criticism, saying it was fortunate that France stood by its side to help guarantee the salaries of thousands of New Caledonians.

He said the Caledonia Together party was engaged in a scorched earth policy.

In last year's provincial elections, the once dominant Caledonia Together party suffered a severe electoral set-back, being left with only one minister in the 11-strong collegial government.

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