22 Jun 2009

Temaru seeks transfer of powers from France

3:40 pm on 22 June 2009

French Polynesia's president, Oscar Temaru, says he would like France to give the territory the same competence which is being enjoyed by the Cook Islands, which has been in free association with New Zealand since 1965.

Mr Temaru made the call in an interview with a Sunday newspaper after his statement last week that the French-sponsored discussions about overseas territories should have as an outcome a path to independence.

He says he wants outstanding powers such as in justice, defence and foreign affairs to be transferred to Tahiti, saying with the current restraints it is difficult to run the territory.

Mr Temaru says after the transfer of powers, the two sides could set a day for an independence vote in 15, 20 or 30 years.

He says like all colonisers, France owes it to the territories under its control to lead them to independence.

His quest has been ignored by the neighbouring countries and the Pacific Islands Forum which he has addressed on the matter, as head of the French Polynesian delegation, on four occasions.