15 Oct 2020

Vanuatu opposition calls for engagement with New Caledonia loyalists

1:38 pm on 15 October 2020
Opposition Leader, Ralph Reganvanu

Opposition Leader, Ralph Reganvanu Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule

Vanuatu's opposition leader is calling for engagement with New Caledonia's anti-independence side.

New Caledonia last week narrowly rejected independence from France, but a third referendum is likely in 2022.

Ralph Regenvanu, who is a staunch advocate for decolonisation in the region, says New Caledonia is Vanuatu's closest neighbour and home to the largest group of ni-Vanuatu abroad.

He says New Caledonia's independence is the goal of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, for which it was set up.

"We also need to convince the anti-independence lobby that New Caledonia can be a viable state in the Pacific like the other states in the Pacific," he said.

"I know that the anti-independence lobby in New Caledonia often likes to point over to Vanuatu and say 'look, you could become like that if you become independent'.

"For us, it is quite amusing because we think we have got a very good development model happening here," Regenvanu said.