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By Patrick Antoine Decloitre

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, Jan. 4) – French Polynesia's newly installed government has implemented an increase of the minimum wage for the French Pacific territory, effective January 1, 2007.

At its first cabinet meeting since it was appointed last week, the new executive, headed by the new President, Gaston Tong Sang, has fixed the new minimum wage at 133,750 French Pacific Francs (1,500 US dollars) per month.

This is slightly lower than the 137,000 CFP (about 1,590 US dollars) per month promised by the former administration of pro-independence President Oscar Temaru, who was ousted in a motion of no confidence on December 13.

But the new minister for economy, Teva Rohfritch, told local media on Wednesday the minimum wage hike, as announced, was in line with the cost of living and that further increases could only be implemented after consulting with French Polynesia's key economic and social stakeholders, including employers and unions.

In New Caledonia, meanwhile, in a similar move, the local government late November decided to raise the minimum wage to a comparable level, with a new monthly wage of 120,000 CFP (about 1,400 US dollars), effective January 1, 2007

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