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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 5) – Despite the absence of most of its members, The French Polynesia Assembly approved measures Tuesday that will subsidize the general public in the purchase of new cars and houses.

Officials said the measures are aimed at boosting Tahiti’s economy by providing aid to new car dealers and helping the home construction sector.

Despite abstentions by three opposition members and the absence of 37 members whose seats are to be filled in a special election next month, the Assembly approved a measure aimed at safeguarding employment in the new car dealership sector.

Economy Minister Teva Rohfritsch defended the measure, telling the Assembly that it stemmed from Tahiti’s current economic situation and was aimed at protecting 40 to 50 threatened jobs resulting from bad fourth quarter sales last year and not a bright outlook for 2005.

The opposition accused French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse’s government of using the automobile sector as an election campaign subject for the Feb. 13 Assembly elections for the 37 Windward Islands seats.

The government’s 2005 budget provides 75 million French Pacific francs (US$858,124) for the measure, designed to replace 350 old motor vehicles with the same number of new vehicles.

Owners of vehicles more than 10 years old will receive a 350,000 CFP (US$4,000) trade-in if they purchase a new car by April 30. The government will subsidize 250,000 CFP (US$2,860) of the trade-in.

The Assembly also voted its approval Tuesday of a measure to help the construction of individual homes as principal dwellings.

People with average combined monthly incomes of less than 550,000 CFP (US$6,293) will be eligible to receive a government subsidy of 30,000 CFP (US$343) per square meter of living space with a cap of 3 million CFP (US$24,325) for each house.

In effect, the Assembly extended a measure that had existed since 2001, broadening the eligibility criteria to include building permits delivered before June 30, 2005.

January 7, 2005

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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