8 Aug 2018

Kanaks have already lost New Caledonia referendum, says PCC

9:02 am on 8 August 2018

New Caledonia's referendum on independence from France is pointless because the minority Kanaks have already lost their chance of sovereignty, the Pacific Council of Churches (PCC) says.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island. Photo: AFP

The council's general secretary, Francois Pihaatae, said the referendum outcome was obvious to Kanak leaders and he hoped they would look after the young as he feared a violent backlash after the vote.

Reverend Pihaatae accused France of destroying community life and he claimed it had also influenced the stance of New Caledonian churches on independence by giving them money.

Since the 1940s, the French strategy had been to hold on to its colonies, he said.

"Give back the sovereignty and independence of all those colonies, including Maohi Nui, including others. Just follow the process of the UN. Give back the sovereignty. We don't need to vote for it, and we deserve, the Kanak deserve their sovereignty, deserve their independence."

Opinion polls suggest a majority will vote to stay with France.

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