In case of independence, many New Caledonians are planning to emigrate to French Polynesia. The Tahitian authorities are preparing for this.
French Polynesia has commissioned a survey unlike any other. And it surely won’t please everyone in New Caledonia. That survey seeks to find out if any New Caledonian residents are planning to emigrate to Tahiti in the event of Caledonian independence.
Some will denounce this as scavenger behaviour and a way of taking advantage of New Caledonia’s current difficulties. On the other hand, others believe that it’s a very pragmatic attitude on the part of French Polynesia’s authorities. Indeed, it anticipates an arrival of manpower, grey matter and investors that could be very useful for the development of its economy.
During the civil war that affected New Caledonian in the eighties, many Caledonian locals had already emigrated there. Not all of them returned.
If, today, the relations between the two french “territories” are much better than they wereduring the Jacques Lafleur (who died in 2010) and Gaston Flosse era, at the time, they were simply execrable. There was a kind of competition between the two strongmen of these two territories. In particular, they fought over the friendship of the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac. Gaston Flosse won this battle because he was the first Tahitian to enter the government of the Republic.