24 May 2011

Fears that tensions could rise in New Caledonia over cost of living

9:48 pm on 24 May 2011

Jean-Brice Herrenschmidt of the New Caledonia Human Rights League fears tension could rise in the country over the cost of living.

Thousands of people took part in marches last week aimed at getting the government to adopt structural reforms to address the cost of living.

Mr Herrenschmidt says people have marched in the past over what he describes as an artificial economy but the surprise this year is that people in rural areas joined in.

"Most of those people are Kanak people, Polynesian people, people from Vanuatu and so on. There is an economic gap which corresponds to an ethnic or a cultural gap."

Jean-Brice Herrenschmidt of the New Caledonia Human Rights League.