26 Mar 2014

French-imposed laws not applicable in territories

4:50 am on 26 March 2014

New rules imposed by France on communes in French Polynesia are prompting ongoing strikes by municipal workers.

The 'communal public service' rules seek to stop cronyism and the appointment of family members to posts, and impose conditions like having tertiary qualifications.

The publisher of the Tahiti-Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel, says it puts a heavy financial burden on mayors and workers.

He says one rule is that local government bodies need to provide running water to their residents by 2016, but in many places, locals live on rainwater and the rules are impractical.

"The problem is they're setting up a very heavy bureaucratic machine. These laws, which give responsibility to townships, are absolutely, these are laws which are adapted to communes in France but you just cannot apply them."

Alex du Prel says the workers may meet the President, Gaston Flosse, today, but he has no power to change the laws.