10 May 2010

French Polynesia's president says economic woes due to relying too much on French funding

10:37 am on 10 May 2010

French Polynesia's president, Gaston Tong Sang, has met 200 union delegates and agrees that the territory's serious economic problems are due to it relying too much on the revenue from France's nuclear weapons testing regime.

The economy is slipped into unprecedented difficulties, with thousands of jobs lost since 2008 and the government seen at being at risk of losing its autonomy to French administrators in the face of huge deficits.

Since France concluded three decades of weapons testing in 1996, it has been paying into an economic reconversion fund and now provides just short of 200 million US dollars in compensation a year.

Mr Tong Sang and the unions say the French state has to play its part as a partner.

A joint delegation of unionists and government representatives is expected to travel to France soon to raise their common concerns.