A French Polynesian member of the French Senate, Gaston Flosse, has hit out at comments made by an Australian businessman who helped sponsor last week's Club de Madrid conference in Tahiti.
Clive Palmer, who is a supporter of the territory's pro-independence president, Oscar Temaru, had told local media that if he was a Tahitian, he would like to build a nation.
Mr Flosse has objected to this, saying if suggestions of this kind were made in Australia, one would end up in jail.
Speaking at a news conference, he has also been dismissive of Mr Palmer's purchase of the now defunct Club Med on Bora Bora, describing it as an insalubrious, tacky and mosquito-infested spot.
Mr Flosse also questioned the attendance of a Hawaiian state senator, Kalani English, at the Club de Madrid conference, saying he believes he is an agent of the CIA reporting to Washington.