4 Apr 2006

Tahitian language ban deemed racist

4:19 pm on 4 April 2006

French Polynesia's minister of family affairs, Tina Cross, says the ban on speaking Tahitian in the assembly is racist.

Her comment 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 pushed for the use of French as the only official language.

Mrs Cross says she will defy the ruling and no longer speak French in the assembly.

And she says she has asked MPs to ignore the court order against the use of Tahitian.

"I am asking if the French government of Jacques Chirac is trying to make a provocation of the Oscar Temaru government because they were still supporting the government of Gaston Flosse but now we have a new government with an independent leader Oscar Temaru and I consider this new decision by the Conseil d'Etat like one more provocation against us."

French Polynesia's minister of family affairs Tina Cross