Promise to French Polynesia from Paris over land disputes

7:37 pm on 20 March 2017

The French justice minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas has underlined his commitment to help resolve French Polynesia's land disputes.

French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas leaves following a cabinet meeting or Conseil des ministres at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 15, 2017.

French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas leaves following a cabinet meeting or Conseil des ministres at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 15, 2017. Photo: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

He had been to the planned land tribunal in Papeete during his first visit to Tahiti as a minister.

While still in charge of the French law commission two years ago, Mr Urvoas described the situation as very complex and almost inextricable, preventing the use of some properties for any development.

He said 821 cases were pending, of which 152 were filed last year alone.

The French state was assuming this role despite the 1880 annexation agreement providing for land issues to remain in the domain of the Tahitians.

During his stay, the minister is also due to open a new prison at Papeari which will ease the pressure on the notorious and overcrowded Nuutania jail.