3 Feb 2006

New Caledonia provincial leader cautious on currency switch

4:44 pm on 3 February 2006

The president of New Caledonia's mainly Kanak northern province, Paul Neaoutyine, has reservations about the territory using Euro coins and notes.

A Paris meeting of the signatories to the 1998 Noumea Accord has heard arguments about whether to axe the French Colonial Pacific Franc as legal tender.

Mr Neaoutyine said he wanted written reassurance that bringing in the Euro wouldn't upset the plan to rebalance the territory's wealth in favour of the north.

He said minting currency was the right of kings and the Accord partners had to decide on the idenfication signs on banknotes and coins.

Overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin said France wouldn't switch currencies unless it could be done across the board in all the Pacific territories.