21 Jan 2013

Lurel on first official trip to French Polynesia

6:43 am on 21 January 2013

The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, is today due to start his first official visit to French Polynesia in part to help reverse the territory's economic decline.

Amid huge job losses in the private sector, Tahiti's public sector has retained much of its size despite French Polynesia promising to make cuts in line with its funding agreements with Paris.

Mr Lurel is scheduled to meet the committee working on the restructure tomorrow.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel, says the apparent generosity of the new Socialist leadership is unlikely to continue.

"According to confidential information from a person quite close to the actual government, to Hollande, he says 'okay we give them the money but they must clean up their act' because there won't be much more of that type."

Alex du Prel says the visit also comes as the territory is getting ready for campaigning for elections in April

French Polynesia's president, Oscar Temaru, has issued a statement, saying he cannot meet Mr Lurel on arrival

He is still in New York lobbying for the territory to be added on the UN list of territories to be decolonised.