4 Apr 2006

French Polynesian minister labels ban of Tahitian in assembly racist

1:33 pm on 4 April 2006

French Polynesia's minister of family affairs, Tina Cross, says she will no longer use the French language in the assembly.

This comes after the French supreme court ruled last week that Tahitian wasn't allowed to be used during assembly debates.

The ruling followed a case brought by the former French high commissioner in Papeete, Michel Mathieu, who wanted that only French was spoken as official language.

Mrs Cross says the constitution makes French the official language but she says to ban Tahitian is racist.

"They don't have to forbid us to speak our native language. So from now I speak only the Tahitian language because to make them realise it is a very colonialist and discriminatory law. I will no more speak French."

Tina Cross says it is now deemed to be illegal if anyone speaks Tahitian in court or parliament and it will not be recorded or recognized