3 Jun 2005

French Polynesian opposition call for nuclear probe questioned

1:28 pm on 3 June 2005

An MP of French Polynesia's ruling Union for Democracy says political needs are behind the opposition's call for an inquiry into the effects of French nuclear weapons testing in the Gambier Islands.

Myron Mataoa says the call by Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party comes as a surprise given that for his many years as president, Mr Flosse stressed there were no dangers in the testing.

The call for the probe follows the recent leak of classified defence ministry documents about a 1966 atmospheric test at Mururoa.

Mr Mataoa says now he's in opposition and with pressure for more details from the people of Mangareva, Mr Flosse feels forced to make the call.

"One, because of the Mayor of Mangareva. And he has to go with her otherwise she might chop him down, and she is really enquiring about more details, more information on the impact of nuclear testing in those years. And the fact that he is now in the opposition, that's the second reason why he is now inquiring for it."

Myron Mataoa of the ruling Union For Democracy