19 Sep 2011

Tahiti's Temaru to take decolonisation campaign to UN

4:50 am on 19 September 2011

French Polynesia's president, Oscar Temaru, will head to New York today to lobby the United Nations to re-inscribe his territory on the UN decolonisation list.

Reports from Tahiti say Melanesian countries are set to back his campaign, which is however resisted by the opposition in Tahiti, the French government and among others, New Zealand.

Paris has said French Polynesia already enjoys the biggest measure of autonomy within the French republic and gets two billion US dollars in transfers a year.

Mr Temaru says he wants the oversight of the UN in the territory's relationship with France, adding that a 2003 change of the French constitution has done away with any reference to the peoples in overseas territories.

He says autonomy has failed as practically none of the professionals in Tahiti are locals but French.