2 Nov 2004

French Polynesian budget minister says audits are on

5:27 pm on 2 November 2004

The French Polynesian budget minister, Georges Puchon, has accused Oscar Temaru of telling a blatant lie when he said the first move of the new Gaston Flosse-led government was to stop the recently commissioned audits.

They had been started in late September just days before Mr Flosse had the numbers to pass a no confidence motion in the assembly which ousted the Oscar Temaru led government.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Georges Puchon says the new government has given no such instructions but ordered that the audits be extended into the running of the territory's administration under Oscar Temaru. The political battle that has engulfed Tahiti is now being refocused on Paris as the vice-president Edouard Fritch has taken a team to France to be, as he put it, a voice of reason. His trip comes just days after a ten-strong delegation of the ousted coalition flew to Paris to lobby President Jacques Chirac to dissolve the assembly. Mr Chirac has not commented on the situation in Tahiti but his minister in charge of overseas territories has ruled out a dissolution. Mr Fritch says the French press is manipulated by the Socialists which has made French Polynesia look like a banana republic."