14 May 2024

Winston Peters cancels New Caledonia visit amid violent unrest

12:46 pm on 14 May 2024
Cars on fire in New Caledonia during unrest.

Photo: Twitter / @ncla1ere

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has cancelled his visit to New Caledonia, due to unrest throughout the French Pacific territory.

Peters and a delegation of other ministers were due to visit the capital Nouméa later this week.

Nouméa's La Tontouta International Airport is expected to remain closed until at least 5pm today (local time).

The violence in Nouméa came as the National Assembly in Paris prepared to vote on a government-tabled constitutional amendment for New Caledonia.

On Monday demonstrations, marches and confrontations with security forces spread throughout New Caledonia with hot points in suburbs of Nouméa.

Police in New Caledonia during unrest.

Photo: Twitter / @ncla1ere

By the evening, several violent confrontations were still taking place between pro-independence militants and police.

Officials were working to set a new date for the visit, Peters said.

New Caledonian airline Aircalin has also cancelled a flight due to leave Auckland for Nouméa on Tuesday afternoon.

Aircalin flight SB411 had been due to depart Auckland at 2pm.

The airline said rescheduling information would be posted on its website as soon as possible.

An alert issued by Aircalin stated flight SB410 from Noumea, due to land in Auckland at 12.40pm on Tuesday, had also been cancelled.

However, as of noon, Auckland Airport's arrivals board had no indication of any changes to the flight.

Auckland Airport's arrival board has no indication of the flight being cancelled.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand is monitoring the situation ahead of its next flight to Noumea at 8.25am on Saturday, 18 May.

A spokesperson for the airline said that flight was still expected to leave on schedule.

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