19 Jan 2010

French Polynesian group claims new state

3:14 pm on 19 January 2010

A group on French Polynesia's Moorea island has succeeded in attracting about 100 people to attend a meeting of a purported new republic, called Hau Pakumotu.

Police were present at the gathering.

The group claims to be fighting against the high cost of living and wants to offer jobs to young people by hiring 130 firefighters on Moorea.

It says the republic has named a president, 12 ministers for a 15-year-term, three senators and seven representatives.

A leader of the self-styled republic, Beky Teamo, has told Tahiti's La Depeche newspaper that it was launched on Whaiora marae in New Zealand in November.

Mr Teamo says they recognise neither the French Polynesian government nor its laws.

The group says it has funding but won't disclose its source while claiming that in Moorea its plans are the most advanced.

The paper says two of the leaders are unsuccessful candidates of the 2008 early general elections when they campaigned for the independence of the Tuamotu archipelago.