New Caledonia

New Caledonia's pro-independence camp wins historic election

The vote follows the collapse this month of the tenuous power sharing government led by conservative president Thierry Santa.

New Caledonia's 54 seat Congress has cast its votes for a new 11 member government.

The anti-independence coalition of loyalists, L'Avenir en Confiance got 18 votes securing four ministerial portfolios and Caledonie Ensemble secured one portfolio with six votes.

7.7 quake off New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands

Geoscience Australia says the quake, which struck early this morning, had an epicentre 400 kilometres east of the town of Tadine.

Seismic data indicates the undersea earthquake struck at a depth of 54 kilometres.

Several aftershocks of up to magnitude 6.1 have occurred.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System says hazardous tsunami waves up to a level of 1 metre above the normal tide level are possible for coasts within 1-thousand kilometres of the epicentre with New Caledonia, Vanuatu particularly at risk.

Cyclone Lucas leaves damages in New Caledonia

The cyclone was a category two when it tore through the French territory.

The territory's south in particular experienced bad weather.

The system passed close to the capital Noumea, as well as the Isle of Pines.

Journalist, Andre Qaeze, said the cyclone caused flooding, felled trees, and damaged homes as well as buildings in the territory.

Cyclone Lucas has now been downgraded to a tropical low.

 

Photo source Chave Weather 

     

Vaccination programme rolls out in the French territories

The Pfizer vaccine programme began on 20 January and requires two doses with a 21 day interval between jabs.

The programme is funded by Paris and is free but not compulsory.

And French Polynesian health authorities have given the first of a two dose Covid-19 vaccine to 1526 of its most at-risk people.

The vaccination campaign began on 18 January with Phase One focusing on health workers and those over 75 on Tahiti and Mo'orea.

Hospital staff on Ra'iatea and Nuku Hiva are also being inoculated.

They will receive their second jab in February.

Pacific churches to meet in New Caledonia during 2022 referendum

The pro-independence FLNKS movement said it would exercise its right under the Noumea Accord to call the final and third vote in 2022 amid a push by the rival side to get France to thwart it.

Ten days ago, 46 percent voted for independence, fuelling expectations that fewer abstentions among Kanak voters next time will see the pro-independence camp win.

Netani Rika, of the Pacific Conference of Churches secretariat in Suva, said the PCC was working with the Protestant church in New Caledonia.

New Caledonia again rejects independence from France

Just over 53 percent of the electorate opted for the status quo in the second of three possible referendums under the Noumea Accord.

180,000 voters, who are on a roll restricted to indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents, were allowed to decide whether the territory should assume full sovereignty.

The results showed a sharp divide between the two camps, with some communes voting with more than 90 percent either for or against independence.

Fire destroys traditional building at New Caledonia's Kanak Senate

Firefighters rushed to the site in Nouville outside Noumea but failed to prevent the building's destruction.

The public prosecutor said a 29-year-old man Kanak was arrested and confessed to using a lighter to set the structure ablaze.

The man was reportedly upset with Kanak leaders over a lack of support to get electricity to a nearby shantytown.

He was reportedly also drunk at the time

He is due to be tried on Tuesday and risks to be jailed for up to 10 years.

New Caledonia lifts remaining Covid-19 restrictions

This means that from Monday meetings of any size as well as all sports competitions are again allowed.

The wearing of masks on public transport can be discontinued and bars and restaurants no longer need to register patrons.

The president Thierry Santa said there was no local circulation of the virus and that all 21 cases were imported.

One person is still in hospital care.

The border remains closed except for flights from Wallis and Futuna which is the only French-run territory without any Covid-19 case.

New Caledonia island flight ban extended until Tuesday

The island's chiefs reconfirmed their decision to prevent Air Caledonie from landing because the carrier hiked the return fare for Noumea flights by $US7.

The chiefs on neighbouring Lifou started the action against Air Caledonie by closing the island's airport two weeks ago.

The fare protest has not been extended to Ouvea or the Isle of Pines.

The chiefs argued that islanders should not be charged more but that shareholders should make up for the airline's woes.

Another New Caledonia airport hit by protest

The domestic carrier Air Caledonie raised its return fares from Noumea by almost $US7 dollars when it restarted its service earlier this month.

The airline was grounded since March because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The chiefs on Lifou already forced the island's airport to close last Friday, saying it would remain shut until the fare hike was rescinded.

They said the shareholders should wear the extra costs, and not the island's population.

The chiefs on Mare said they would block flights until there was a compromise.