28 Dec 2009

French Polynesia MPs finally pass budget

4:34 pm on 28 December 2009

A divided French Polynesian legislative assembly has finally passed its 2010 budget.

The 1.96 billion US dollar appropriation bill has been at the centre of a controversy that sparked the ousting of former President Oscar Temaru.

Oceania Flash reports the budget has since been revised by the new President, Gaston Tong Sang.

The new version, passed on Friday, abandoned plans for a controversial new series of duties, and instead has placed the focus on reducing public expenditure.

The vote on the budget had been held up last week by the lack of a quorum in the Assembly.

The Assembly is presently evenly split with 28 backing Mr Tong Sang, 28 supporting Mr Temaru and one independent.

A former Tahoeraa Huiraatira MP, Chantal Galenon, who resigned two weeks to become an independent, supported the budget, giving Mr Tong Sang a paper-thin majority of 29.

The cost-cutting measures include no salary increase for the public service which, Mr Tong Sang says, would allow for savings of up seven million US dollars.