Tahiti, the French Polynesian island nation, announced it expects a massive influx of people, while New Caledonia should opt for independence from France next month.
Both French Polynesian territories, Tahiti and New Caledonia, are on the UN decolonization list. For Tahiti, the third and final referendum is due to be held on 12 December on whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty.
According to the government-run study, a yes vote will unleash a wave of migrants, including French Polynesians who over time had moved to New Caledonia. For a tiny nation, it could be unbearable, the government says.
In its recent address, President Edouard Fritch said also many French people would be arriving from Noumea, which risks fuelling property prices in Tahiti and Moorea. He added there is no need to have a psychosis about an invasion but to keep an eye out for developments.
President Fritch also says he doesn’t want to take sides in New Caledonia’s independence debate but hopes whatever decision is made, there will be a way for people there to live together.
While France has engaged with the UN and organized New Caledonia’s referendums, Paris refuses to acknowledge French Polynesia’s listing.
So far, France has ignored all calls for a referendum made by either pro- or anti-independence politicians in French Polynesia, RNZ reports.