Daniel Goa, spokesperson for New Caledonia's independence movement Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), has announced that the island becoming independent from France is "just a question of time for us."
Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Goa specifically referred to the independence referendum in New Caledonia on November 4, which he stressed is "of capital importance and historic for the Kanak people because it brings to an end 164 years of uninterrupted struggle for our people," said Goa.
He also touted the referendum as a "question of dignity", adding that "as long as a single Kanak person is standing, he will fight for his freedom.
"That should tell you the importance of this day, and the symbolism of this referendum," Goa underscored.
If most voters say "yes" to New Caledonia's independence during the referendum, "internationally we'll ensure our sovereignty is recognized and we'll apply for UN membership," Goa said.
He recalled that earlier, FLNKS has called for the country to be renamed. It could be called Kanaky Nouvelle-Caledonie, or Kanak New Caledonia.
Goa also said that the time is right for ousting the "colonizing power" France and to "take back control of our natural resources and our key sectors, currently controlled by French multinational companies."
French authorities approved the referendum for New Caledonia in November last year. A new vote is in sync with the 1998 agreement, Noumea Accord, on the gradual decolonization of the archipelago. Earlier, 1987 independence vote resulted in local residents choosing to remain part of France.