9 Nov 2004

New Caledonia MPs boycott French Minister's visit

7:32 pm on 9 November 2004

A group of anti-independence MPs in New Caledonia has boycotted a visit by the French tourism ministry to the territory.

Leon Bertrand, whose Rassemblement party is allied to the New Caledonian UMP party, is in the territory to attend a conference for mayors in overseas territories.

The UMP representative, Jacques Lafleur, and the party senator, Simon Loueckhote, say Mr Bertrand hasn't noticed what they call the pro-independence attitudes of the territory's ruling coalition.

Mr Bertrand says the MPs are all part of the same family.

He's played down the boycott and says simply coming to New Caledonia is important and everything else is secondary.