23 Mar 2016

Kanaks a majority on New Caledonia roll - projection

4:38 pm on 23 March 2016

A projection of the make-up of New Caledonia's electorate for the 2018 independence referendum indicates that a majority of voters is likely to be indigenous Kanaks.

The calculation was made by a law professor, Mathias Chauchat, and presented to a conference in Noumea as the territory is finalising the roll of long-term residents eligible to vote in the plebiscite.

The local newspaper reports that the projection is for there being 84,000 Kanaks and 71,000 non-Kanaks who are made up of European settlers and other ethnic groups, including Polynesians.

Downtown Noumea (capital of New Caledonia)

Downtown Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Kanaks are automatically enrolled as are people born in New Caledonia.

People who arrived by 1994 are allowed to enrol if they can prove continued residence since then.

About 15,000 people have another three weeks to confirm their eligibility.

Kanaks are believed to be mainly for independence but politicians have suggested a majority is likely to vote against independence.