New Party Favors ‘Departmentalizing’ French Polynesia

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Group says territorial land issues ‘a time bomb’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 6, 2013) – A new political grouping contesting French Polynesia’s elections next month says turning the territory into a French department will resolve long-running land issues.

The group, known under the acronym RRPP, says the land issue has become a time bomb because of the abolition of indigenous courts and the administrative problems related to genealogical documents.

The group, which is being led by a long-standing advocate for retirees, Emile Vernier, says the system dating back to 1880, when Tahiti was annexed by France, has to go.

He has told local media that the worst offender in terms of seizing land is the territorial government, which in 2004 claimed to return the land taken away from the Polynesians.

Mr. Vernier says the solution is to integrate French Polynesia as a French department.

He says the group may organize a march to highlight its program.

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