28 Sep 2009

Faction of French Polynesia's ruling coalition threatens action over ferry licence

11:31 am on 28 September 2009

A faction of French Polynesia's ruling coalition has threatened to go into opposition because it is unhappy with a government decision to grant a foreign company a licence for a ferry service to the Leeward Islands.

Six assembly members, who form a faction linked to Gaston Tong Sang's To Tatou Aia Party, are opposed to the King Tamatoa fast ferry being given a licence, which they say will undermine existing shipping services and imperil the viability of some Air Tahiti routes.

The issue has already led to a protest by shipowners, who suspended all boat traffic between Tahiti and Moorea for a day this month.

Mr Tong Sang has hinted that a no confidence motion could be tabled over the matter although it is not clear what sort of majority could be formed to replace the coalition in power since April.

President Oscar Temaru has said the decision is irrevocable