Mckinnon Welcomes Support For Accords

  • Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Affairs Minister Don McKinnon today welcomed New Caledonia's resounding vote of support for the Noumea Accords, which give the French territory an increasing degree of self-government.

Mr McKinnon said Sunday's 72 percent "yes" vote in support of the Accords, and the higher than anticipated 74 percent voter turnout, were positive steps towards New Caledonia establishing its own international identity.

The Noumea Accords, signed in May, allow for increased self-government over the next 15 to 20 years. It will no longer be a French Overseas Territory, but will have its own special status within the French Constitution.

"This excellent result proves that the Noumea Accords have the backing of the New Caledonian people. New Caledonia and France are now committed to a new and innovative partnership," Mr McKinnon said.

"New Caledonia is New Zealand's nearest neighbour. The fact that it is now on the path to self-determination will offer important opportunities to strengthen our already close relationship," he said.

"The Accords signify a new era in New Caledonia's relations not only with New Zealand but with the South Pacific generally. New Zealand was pleased to be part of the Forum decision earlier this year which opened the way for New Caledonia to become an observer in that key regional body."