A former French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, has spoken out against the availability of the French RSA benefit, which is just under 600 US dollars a month.
In a campaign interview with the Tahititoday website, Mr Tong Sang says he is against such a benefit because he stands for the territory's full autonomy.
In the lead-up to this weekend's first round of the election of the territory's three members of the French National Assembly, a rival candidate, Rene Hoffer, has said tens of thousands of the poor in Tahiti have a right to the RSA benefit because they are French citizens.
Mr Tong Sang says an RSA-style benefit can only be made available in Tahiti if the local government agrees to it and has warned against making claims to the contrary.
But Mr Hoffer has been pointing out that he himself is an RSA recipient and has remained one because no judge has cancelled that right.
Last week, Mr Tong Sang called on voters not to vote for candidates from civil society.