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Politician says France ignores territory

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2012) – A veteran New Caledonian politician has suggested that the French Pacific territory Wallis and Futuna be made New Caledonia’s fourth province.

Pierre Bretegnier has told Noumea’s daily newspaper that the two islands are being emptied, with the majority of its people now living in New Caledonia’s southern province.

Mr Bretegnier says the French state has not cared about economic development in Wallis and Futuna and by default it’s been up to New Caledonia to deal with the issue.

Such a change, he says, would allow New Caledonia to organise its relations with the two islands which would help the economy.

Mr Bretegnier also says imbalances within New Caledonia continue, with the pro-independence Northern and Loyalty Islands provinces being financially carried by the French state and the southern province.

He says it is still true what Francois Mitterrand said that those in New Caledonia who want independence cannot have it while those who could have it don’t want it.

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