Anti-independence statements by French politicians threatens to unduly influence the referendum outcome even as France is in total administrative and political control of the "self-determination" process.
Valls favours New Caledonia staying French
A former French prime minister Manuel Valls says the French government should say before New Caledonia's referendum what its preferred outcome is.
Mr Valls, who is in Noumea as the head of a French National Assembly delegation, was speaking at a public debate.
He said he personally wants New Caledonia to stay French and expressed regret that there wouldn't be a third accord to follow the Matignon Accords and the Noumea Accord.
Mr Valls said, in view of Britain's exit from the European Union, France would be the only European power left in the Pacific, adding that its presence was wanted by Australia and New Zealand.
He has also advised caution about the concept of a Caledonian people, saying there is a Kanak people and a French people as well as a Caledonian citizenship.
Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reported another Assembly member Cristian Jacob saying it was not possible to get independence and maintain funding from France.
Once independent, he said, New Caledonia could enter into co-operation treaties but that won't match the current French commitment.
Former French PM upsets pro-independence side in New Caledonia
Pro-independence politicians in New Caledonia are upset at comments by a visiting former French prime minister Manuel Valls who said he was in favour of the territory remaining French.
Mr Valls, who is in Noumea as the head of a French National Assembly delegation, was speaking at a public debate as the territory readies for an independence referendum later this year.
One politician Louis Mapou said he had the impression that the whole French state machinery was being aligned to back the anti-independence camp.
He also said he wondered whether President Emmanuel Macron would use his upcoming visit to Noumea to unleash a no-campaign.
Another politician Roch Wamytan said he finds that Mr Valls had stepped out of his role and should report back to Paris what he sees on his fact-finding mission instead of advising what should be done.
Mr Wamytan said it was up to the New Caledonian population to decide.
An anti-independence politician Philippe Michel said Mr Valls's remarks add to a situation which already complicated.