Congress enjoys broader powers than a local government assembly
It has powers to legislate in matters of criminal law
Congress has a specific power in terms of criminal law. It may impose fines and further penalties for offences under country laws or Congress decisions.
It may also provide for imprisonment for such offences, subject to approval by Parliament (National Assembly and Senate). If a bill provides for imprisonment for any offences, its authors must also table a draft resolution along with it requesting Central Government approval for the penalties.
The Organic Act provides that penalties imposed when such powers are invoked do not exceed those applicable in Mainland France.
Congress may provide for administrative penalties in any area, whether or not they are for offences under a country law or Congress decision.
It provides proposals and opinions on amendments to national legislation
At the behest of the High Commission, Congress may be requested to advise on national legislation, including:
national bills relating to the European Union,
national bills affecting New Caledonia,
setting up or abolishing New Caledonian municipal areas,
changes in national public service regulations (tours of duty).
Congress is consulted on changes in regulations introduced by National Government regarding tours of duty by Central Government servants in some overseas countries and territories (as applied to New Caledonia) in order to determine whether the public servants’ physical and psychological interests are catered for by such rules.
Congress may also be consulted by the Speaker of the National Assembly or Senate on the bills set forth. The High Commissioner must be notified of such consultations.
Congress may pass resolutions requesting that legal provisions applicable to New Caledonia be amplified, amended or revoked.
Based on the country’s special legislative status, national laws and regulations are not always applicable locally and, with some exceptions, require the local assembly to be consulted and applicability must be expressly stated.