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98 posts from June 2017

Now is a good time for PNG to reconsider how it governs itself


FOR a long time the developed countries of the West have foisted their ideas and systems onto developing countries, sometimes unthinkingly and at other times with predatory motives.

These include political, economic, educational and healthcare systems that have questionable application in their new environments.

We are currently seeing how one of these ‘one size fits all’ imposed systems is manifesting itself in the elections in Papua New Guinea.

We have also seen how other western systems, notably in education and health, don’t always fit comfortably into Papua New Guinea. Here I’m thinking about performance-based teaching and the debacle over the supply of drugs to hospitals.

Continue reading "Now is a good time for PNG to reconsider how it governs itself" »

Media Council tests impact of PNG Cybercrime Act on free speech

Alex RheeneyGERALDINE KALABAI | Pacific Media Watch

THE Media Council of Papua New Guinea is seeking legal opinion on the effects of the government’s Cybercrime Act on press freedom, freedom of expression and public access to state information.

”The council agreed that legal opinion should be sought on the impact that the August 2016 legislation will have on the ability of ordinary Papua New Guineans to express themselves through various communication platforms and whether the law hinders the ability of the PNG media to report without fear or favour,” the Council said in a statement.

Media Council president Alexander Rheeney (pictured) said the council supported some sections of the law that protected citizens.

However the Council was particularly concerned with sections on data espionage, defamatory publication, unlawful disclosure, spam, unlawful advertising, search powers and criminal liability of ICT service providers.

Continue reading "Media Council tests impact of PNG Cybercrime Act on free speech" »

PNG’s problems are its own, not Australia’s or others


ATTEMPTS to displace Papua New Guinea’s problems on people external to PNG – and there has been something of that recently - is to paddle shallow water and to peddle shallow trust.

The honour of ancestors is in learning the best information, working out the best strategies, adopting the best tactics and always with care and courage.

Any mess that has come about in some electorates has to be faced honestly by PNG voters and citizens, maybe through the courts and more certainly through PNG ballot boxes.

It seems that lawful process and court action might be somewhat slow but processes within the rule of law are a better choice, and indeed the best choice, to safeguard the rights of all Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "PNG’s problems are its own, not Australia’s or others" »

PNG on verge of humiliation as embassies prepare to shut doors


THE O'Neill government spent a fortune during the campaign period telling Papua New Guineans in a series of glossy advertisements about how it has put PNG on the world stage.

Hosting regional and global events has given us some recognition but at the cost of so many other high priority areas like health and education.

Sadly, it is that very world stage that will witness us shame ourselves as we close foreign mission after foreign mission. So far this year we have failed to pay United Nations fees, calling the failure an ‘administrative glitch’ to avoid further humiliation.

High Commission and embassy staff in Singapore, Beijing and Washington have had long periods without pay.

Continue reading "PNG on verge of humiliation as embassies prepare to shut doors" »

How might these Papua New Guinea elections be failed?

Kramer_Bryan 2BRYAN KRAMER

WITH the recent controversies surrounding the 2017 general elections, many people are suggesting they should be declared failed.

So what does the law say about failing an election?

The laws governing our elections are provided under Organic Law on National and Local-Level Government Elections.

An organic law is a special type of law established by our constitution. The term organic comes from the fact is originated from our constitution that is unique to PNG and not adopted from other countries - most of our laws camed from Australia. For instance our criminal code was adopted from the Queensland code.

Continue reading "How might these Papua New Guinea elections be failed?" »

‘We’ve been robbed,’ say candidates contesting O'Neill's electorate

Pangia ialibu candidatesPETER S KINJAP

CANDIDATES in the Ialibu-Pangia electorate in the Southern Highlands where prime minister Peter O'Neill is the sitting member say preparations for polling today are inadequate and claim the election has been rorted.

The candidates - Jerry Kiwai, Nepoleon Rema, Tua Yasa, Stanley Liria, Justus Rapula, Leonard Pangepea and Dr Sam Kari (see picture) - unanimously agreed at a meeting in Ialibu that certain issues be addressed before polling starts and lodged a formal letter with election manager David Wakias.

Mr Liria said people are fed up with corruption, dictatorship, lying, stealing and treating people like dirt.

He said the people of Ialibu-Pangia are peaceful and hard-working and have the right to choose their new leader through fair, transparent and honest process.

He said he believed O'Neill is denying people this constitutional and democratic right.

Continue reading "‘We’ve been robbed,’ say candidates contesting O'Neill's electorate" »

Talking to Australians about PNG: they're interested


ALONG with other commentators on PNG Attitude I often carry on about the ignorance of the general Australian public about Papua New Guinea

Over the years I have occasionally been asked to address various organisations and groups in Australia about my experiences in Papua New Guinea and I’ve always regarded them as an opportunity to help alleviate this ignorance, even if only in a small way.

I’m happy to do this but it is only since moving to the relatively remote west coast of South Australia that I’ve come to realise that all my previous efforts have largely been confined to preaching to the converted.

Continue reading "Talking to Australians about PNG: they're interested" »

Pressure on Gamato as election problems intensify

Ballot boxes (Johnny Blades)JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International | Extract

AS polling continues in Papua New Guinea's general election, the electoral commissioner is under more pressure to resign.

This followed a string of controversies early in the two-week polling schedule.

Wild inconsistencies and flaws in the electoral roll, scheduling changes and delayed polling were already a bad way to start.

The pressure piled on commissioner Patalias Gamato after the sudden decision to defer polling in the capital from Tuesday to Friday.

Continue reading "Pressure on Gamato as election problems intensify" »

PNG election continues to lose credibility in day of chaos

Polling booth PNG election 2017 (Johnny Blades)JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International | Extracts

Read Johnny Blades’ full report here

TUESDAY was one of those days when chaos prevailed in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby.

Locals will tell you such days are not unusual, but they prefer it to be outside of election time.

An announcement mid-morning by the Electoral Commission that polling for the national election in the National Capital District had been deferred to Friday set the tone.

It created confusion as thousands of voters had already begun turning up to polling stations when this announcement was made.

Continue reading "PNG election continues to lose credibility in day of chaos" »

An important new book from a PNG renaissance man


I’ve written this Foreword to a new collection of Daniel Kumbon’s documentary stories which is to be published later this year. It’s a pioneering work for a male Papua New Guinean writers – and carries with it a great deal of power - KJ

AS A journalist, Daniel Kumbon has travelled more of our world than most people but, in addition to his notebook and pen, wherever he went he also carried with him his values as a man of Enga and a compassionate human being.

Daniel has dedicated his most recent book, ‘Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’, “to all women past and present who died or live with regrets in their hearts due to circumstances beyond their control”.

In this collection of three powerful stories, Daniel, in his typically straightforward way, addresses the role of women in Papua New Guinea, a role that has come under immense pressure as a result of profound social change.

Continue reading "An important new book from a PNG renaissance man" »

Election 2017, social media & the rise of the writers


I DON’T think anyone would dispute the power of social media and the impact it is having on the 2017 elections.

Many of the 900,000 plus users of social media are talking non-stop about the election. They are commenting on the issues and the problems in unprecedented numbers and this is spreading into the informal media, the conversations of ordinary people all over Papua New Guinea.

It will be interesting, indeed crucial, to see what the ultimate effect will be.

Unlike the traditional media, newspapers, television and radio, social media is difficult to control and, at this stage of its development cannot be effectively bought off to favour any one party or politician. Not that attempts haven’t been made to do that.

Continue reading "Election 2017, social media & the rise of the writers" »

Will new leaders re-introduce The Code & attack corruption

CorruptionELIZAH PALME | EMTV | Edited

CORRUPTION is rife in Papua New Guinea and the national and provincial governments are notorious for it, according to The Economist magazine running the risk of turning the state into a fully-fledged kleptocracy.

In 2002, the Morauta government initiated a fight against corruption, coming up with a public service code of business ethics and conduct, known as ‘The Code’.

But since then, at political and bureaucratic levels, corruption has become systematic and poses a threat to the well-being and development of PNG.

Continue reading "Will new leaders re-introduce The Code & attack corruption" »

It's early days, but PNG election complaints abound

Voters at Timini  Morobe Province (Johnny Blades)JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

WHILE polling in Papua New Guinea's election has only just begun, complaints are already surging in about problems.

Polling has been running in various districts of several provinces since Saturday, with other provinces to progressively begin over the next two weeks.

It was always expected there'd be voters turning up to polling booths to find out their names are no longer on the electoral roll.

Then there is the case of a woman who said she was turned away by polling officials after they had earlier allowed another person to vote under her name.

Continue reading "It's early days, but PNG election complaints abound" »

Journey back to the highlands. It took a few tries but I got there


A RECENT comment in PNG Attitude by Ed Brumby reminded me of the first time I went back to Papua New Guinea after an absence of over 20 years.

It was in the mid-1990s and I had been recruited as a camp manager by a petroleum exploration company operation near Fogamai’iu village on the Hegigio River in the Southern Highlands.

It didn’t sound like a very interesting job but it was a free ticket there and back and I was curious to see how things had changed.

Continue reading "Journey back to the highlands. It took a few tries but I got there" »

Redlands in Queensland to host inaugural Melanesian Showcase


THE Redlands Performing Arts Centre in Cleveland near Brisbane is bringing together a Melanesian Showcase in mid-September.

The first ever event will be hosted by the Quandamooka people of the Redlands region and is designed to be an important cultural exchange between Melanesia and coastal indigenous Australia.

My wife, Elaine Seeto (originally from Kavieng) is one of the organisers of the showcase, which is intended to grow into a regular and even larger festival of music and the arts.

Continue reading "Redlands in Queensland to host inaugural Melanesian Showcase" »

Drug lords in PNG are acquiring more political influence

Anti-drug protestPHILLIP KAI MORRE

TOMORROW, 26 June, is International Anti-Narcotics Day where a message of hope is carried around the world to millions of victims of the narcotics epidemic.

Drug abuse is an international problem that destroys human health and lives. Drug cultivation, trafficking and consumption have grown to an extreme in Papua New Guinea. There are more people involved in this illegal industry than ever before.

In Papua New Guinea this includes local drug lords wielding greater political influence and even being elected to office.

Continue reading "Drug lords in PNG are acquiring more political influence" »

End the scourge of so-called leaders who buy people’s votes

Report election fraudNAITH N LATI

IN traditional Papua New Guinean society, leadership was usually vested in a person based on trust, respect and community standing.

But today individuals are able to buy their way to be leaders of their people and do not represent the true voice and concerns of the people, whether community, district or province.

The contradiction between members of parliament who boast to have been voted in by the people and the purchase of individual votes is an inevitability voters too easily forget.

The reality happens after polling day when service delivery fails to match the promises and the bribes and we wait five years for it all to happen again.

The integration into campaigning of money to buy votes has been one of the most astonishing developments. Most MPs or intending candidates need to spend a million kina to contest a national election.

Continue reading "End the scourge of so-called leaders who buy people’s votes" »

Challenges for voters in PNG’s 2017 general election

Kama_BalBAL KAMA | DevPolicy Blog

IN AN earlier article, ‘Day of judgment,’ I invited Papua New Guineans to critically evaluate the performance of prime minister Peter O’Neill’s government as they headed to the polls.

The article briefly pointed to the struggling economy, the weakening state institutions and the challenges to the rule of law in the country as deeply worrisome despite the assurances of progress offered by the government.

O’Neill’s government may have administered an admirably ambitious regime, but its controversies stand to overshadow its daring achievements.

Continue reading "Challenges for voters in PNG’s 2017 general election" »

Anticipation & excitement sweep PNG as voting begins

Election Day (Radio Australia)PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH

PAPUA New Guinea’s 2017 national election begins today as voters take to the polling booths after a six-week campaign which began on 24 April.

“Anticipation” and “excitement” is the general feeling, says Papua New Guinean doctoral candidate Stephanie Sageo-Tupungu.

“Everyone is thinking about who they’re going to vote for and how they’re going to go about it,” she told 95bFM’s Southern Cross radio program.

Continue reading "Anticipation & excitement sweep PNG as voting begins" »

Invective, tension & rigging allegations as PNG goes to polls


PAPUA New Guinea's electoral commission says it is prepared and ready for polling in the general election.

Johnny Blades (pictured) is in Port Moresby and told Ben Robinson Drawbridge despite the claims the commission remains positive.

BLADES: The Electoral Commission says that all sensitive election materials are now in the provinces and being sorted out for distribution to each electorate in preparation for polling. These include ballot-papers, candidate posters, polling schedules; indelible inks for voters to show they have voted, and of course electoral rolls.

Continue reading "Invective, tension & rigging allegations as PNG goes to polls" »

Vote for real leaders; vote for change; vote for PNG

Chimbu election candidatesJIMMY AWAGL

This election is a crucial election
Your vote will rescue the country
Or dissolve the country
Or break the nation’s fabric
Or relieve the nation from the hands of evil

Too many leaders with weak and deceiving hearts
Are running the country for personal gain
They only promote evil and corruption
What they do to this country is painful
People suppressed from total freedom

Law and economy dictated by crooks
Since too few voices to defend
To few fighting evil on the floor of parliament
We need dynamic and vibrant leaders
They who have the heart of a lion

Continue reading "Vote for real leaders; vote for change; vote for PNG" »

Papua New Guinea is set for costly & unpredictable poll

Election day (Development Policy Centre)JONATHAN PRYKE | Nikkei Asian Review

PAPUA New Guinea is about to start its ninth general election, with voting taking place from tomorrow to 8 July, followed by counting over subsequent weeks. The coalition government led by prime minister Peter O'Neill enters the election under siege, facing battles on political, legal and economic fronts.

From the outside, O'Neill looks to be in a strong position. His government holds a significant majority in parliament, and the opposition is fractured. However, alliances in Papua New Guinea are often unstable, and the result of the election is far from certain.

O'Neill, then treasurer, wrested power in 2011 from long-serving prime minister Sir Michael Somare, widely known as Papua New Guinea's "Grand Chief." The country was starting the construction of its largest natural resource project, a $19 billion liquefied natural gas project that was expected to transform the nation's economy.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea is set for costly & unpredictable poll" »

Are Papua New Guineans racist?


KEITH Jackson was good enough to publish a provocative article of mine a few weeks ago called, ‘Are Australians racist?

It was intended to stimulate discussion, which it did, with an excellent rejoinder from Phil Fitzpatrick.

So it seems only fair to turn the question around to the other country in the equation – Papua New Guinea.

So are Papua New Guineans racist?

Continue reading "Are Papua New Guineans racist?" »

An assault on an independent institution & our democracy

ArticleKESSY SAWANG | The PNG Woman | Edited extracts

Read the complete article here

“IT’S the economy stupid” became the rallying cry for Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign in the United States.

A growing economy represents growing national income and remains a necessary condition to improve the well-being of Papua New Guineans through expanded incomes and job creation.

The government, through its policy choices, can make a substantive difference to whether this growth is inclusive and sustainable, both economically and environmentally.

The size and nature of public investment and other government spending as well as the policy and regulatory environment can determine the pattern of growth and how the gains from economic growth are distributed amongst sectors, industries and most importantly our people.

Continue reading "An assault on an independent institution & our democracy" »

For the sake of your kids, understand PNG's exploding debt

PNG's skyrocketing debtPAUL FLANAGAN

You can now read Paul on Facebook here and follow him on Twitter here

PAPUA New Guinea is facing a serious debt crisis risk.

The threatening crisis results from an extraordinary increase in public debt charges during the term of the O'Neill government.

In 2012, these public debt charges totalled K1.5 billion.

But by 2016, they had exploded out to K13 billion.

Almost all of this astonishing increase came from escalating repayments of domestic debt, which mushroomed by over 1,000% from 2012 to 2016.

Now, every single month, the PNG Treasury, through the central bank, needs to raise nearly K1 billion just to keep debt rolling over.

Continue reading "For the sake of your kids, understand PNG's exploding debt" »

Politics has made us Prostitutes

Wardley Barry at workWARDLEY BARRY

We are singing songs for no good reason,
Killing pigs, yet it's not harvest season.
We are gathering at the mumu place,
But our tumbuna did not show his face.

Have not our songs been contempt to his ears?
Has not betrayal been breaking our spears?
Are we not desecrating the sacred,
Putting kumul grass on a foreign head?

Continue reading "Politics has made us Prostitutes" »

New governance watchdog exposes O’Neill’s business networks


A NEW website, PNGi, seems set to revolutionise governance in Papua New Guinea by cracking open the secrets of the rich and powerful and exposing them to public view.

Using the latest digital technologies, PNGi aims to investigate, analyse and expose the often hidden and opaque systems standing behind the abuse of political and economic power.

Its two flagship resources are PNGi Portal and PNGi Central.

They have been established and are sustained by an informal network of academics, activists and journalists involved in researching and writing about current issues in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "New governance watchdog exposes O’Neill’s business networks" »

‘Hypocrisy’: Juffa blasts deportation of NZ missionary


ORO Governor Gary Juffa has condemned the Papua New Guinea government for “hypocrisy” and “double standards” over the controversial deportation of New Zealand Catholic missionary Douglas Tennent.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer Solomon Kantha told EMTV News that Tennent’s deportation last week related to “visa conditions”.

However, Juffa, who has been vocal about foreign investors in the country during the election campaign, said the move by the Immigration Office to deport Tennent was illegal and not in the best interests of Papua New Guineans who were being marginalised on their own land by big foreign companies.

Continue reading "‘Hypocrisy’: Juffa blasts deportation of NZ missionary" »

Catholic bishop plans legal action over Tennent deportation


THE Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea is planning legal action against the acting chief migration officer Solomon Kantha over what it says was the illegal deportation of religious layworker, Doug Tennent.

Mr Tennent was working for the Archbishop of Rabaul, Francesco Panfilo (pictured), helping landowners battling a multi-national logger and palm oil company, Rimbunan Hijau.

Mr Tennent, a New Zealander, was bundled onto a plane and deported despite a stay order being presented to immigration personnel by senior church officials, including the Vatican ambassador.

Continue reading "Catholic bishop plans legal action over Tennent deportation" »

People know that O’Neill & his ministers do not tell the truth

Pharmacy at GorokaWARIME GUTI | Translated by Keith Jackson

TODAY I went to the pharmacy to buy a GlucoMeter.

The man ahead of me in the queue looked very ill and he had a note from the hospital nurse prescribing the medicine he must purchase.

He gave the note to the cashier who looked at it and said the total cost would be K31 for Mala-Wan and Primaquine.

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out K20, only enough to buy the Mala-Wan but he was short of the full amount of money.

Continue reading "People know that O’Neill & his ministers do not tell the truth" »

How to be cursed if you do and cursed if you don’t


HERE’S a new word for readers to consider – altruism.

A lot of people don’t know what it means but practise it anyway.

A lot of other people don’t want to know what it means and would run a mile if they were asked to try it out.

It’s a commodity seemingly and increasingly in short supply.

Altruism is the practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews.

Continue reading "How to be cursed if you do and cursed if you don’t" »

A call for reading book donations for a remote school

Head teacher Ms Abani in front of classrooms in SafiaCAROLINE EVARI

WHILE intending candidates for the 2017 national elections compete head to head to claim leadership for the next five years, one school on the outskirts of Musa in the Ijivitari area of Oro Province is in dire need of teaching and reading materials for its students.

This school is currently run by two headmasters and an auxiliary teacher and serves children from neighboring villages.

It has been 42 years now since Papua New Guinea gained its independence in 1975 but Musa is still how it was in colonial days.

Continue reading "A call for reading book donations for a remote school" »

PNG WW2 veterans’ anniversary invitations close this Friday

On the Sanananda ...KEITH JACKSON

AUSTRALIAN Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan is encouraging veterans from some of the important Papua New Guinean campaigns of World War II to nominate to attend two important commemorations to be held in Canberra later this year.

Time is running out, though, and nominations to receive support to attend the commemorations of the Battles of Milne Bay, Kokoda, Buna, Gona and Sanananda close this coming Friday.

Mr Tehan said the government will arrange return travel and accommodation for eligible veterans and an accompanying carer from their home location to attend the ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial.

Continue reading "PNG WW2 veterans’ anniversary invitations close this Friday" »

Our corrosive culture of corruption - & how to start eliminating it

Kessy SawangKESSY SAWANG | The Papua New Guinean Woman | Edited extracts

Read the complete article here

SIR MEKERE Morauta, our former prime minister, likened corruption to cancer, presumably the malignant type.

Sam Koim, former head of Task Force Sweep, described the rising tide of corruption using the boiling frog tale – descriptive but a parable nonetheless as it is scientifically incorrect.

But if we focus on the point being made, which is that unless we are alert to the slow and gradual threat of diminishing governance and the growing scale of corruption these can go unnoticed and become accepted as the new norm threatening democracy and our country’s development.

Continue reading "Our corrosive culture of corruption - & how to start eliminating it" »

PNG writers, where are you? We miss you all!


EVERYONE online in Papua New Guinea seems to be currently preoccupied with the elections.

The big question is whether the hugely unpopular government will be able to subvert and bribe enough electoral officials, candidates and voters with the money filched from the public purse to get re-elected.

And, if that happens, what Papua New Guinea is going to do with a likely illegal national government at the helm.

I can hear the lawyers in Port Moresby rubbing their hands in anticipation all the way over here on the west coast of South Australia.

Continue reading "PNG writers, where are you? We miss you all!" »

'The hospital is out of everything': PNG crippled by drug shortage

Mt Hagen HospitalJAMIE TAHANA | Radio New Zealand International

ON Tuesday night, an elderly woman went to Mt Hagen Hospital after she was slashed in the forehead, but doctors had no supplies or antibiotics to stitch and treat her wound.

On the same night, doctors driven to desperation having run out of gauze resorted to using patients' clothes to soak up blood and cover wounds.

The dire situation at Papua New Guinea's third-largest hospital is a scene playing out in hospitals around the country, where health centres have been crippled by a months-long drug shortage that doctors say has been in the making for years.

Continue reading "'The hospital is out of everything': PNG crippled by drug shortage" »

We have a date with destiny: let’s make it work for the people

Mekere MorautaSIR MEKERE MORAUTA | Extracts of a speech to the independent team dinner

Read the complete speech here

I WELCOME you all and thank you profoundly for your donation of time and money to help me and other successful independent MPs to join forces with like-minded political parties to form an honest government. None of the money will be used to fund my own campaign.

Tonight’s gathering is not to raise millions of kina, like other parties have done. Nor to entertain you with stars flown from Ireland or other continents. The tables and seats are priced at a level that working people and small businesses might afford.

Continue reading "We have a date with destiny: let’s make it work for the people" »

See you at the body shop – time for a re-charge

Fitzpatrick_PhilipPHIL FITZPATRICK

I RECENTLY caught up with an old friend. We had gone to Papua New Guinea together as kiaps in 1967 but had known each other well before that.

Shortly after our arrival in PNG my friend grew a beard and let his hair grow long. It’s a fashion that comes and goes but he has maintained it ever since.

Being of fair complexion I envied him his beard; I didn’t start shaving until I was 47 years old.

He always kept his beard neatly trimmed and his hair well groomed, not like those scruffy baby boomers you see nowadays with their pony tails and salt and pepper mats hanging over their stained tee-shirts and pot bellies.

Continue reading "See you at the body shop – time for a re-charge" »

Pacific islands trade deal seems set to fail without PNG & Fiji


THE Australia and New Zealand-driven free-trade deal with Pacific countries, Pacer-Plus, appears to be set to fail.

Vanuatu last week joined two of the region's other major economies, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, in pulling out of it.

The convenor of Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) has said Australia should not proceed with Pacer-Plus as there are just 12 of the original Pacific Island countries were prepared to sign up.

But the deal has just been finalised and formally signed.

Continue reading "Pacific islands trade deal seems set to fail without PNG & Fiji" »

Playing politics with budget numbers: PM hides debt interest costs

Peter O'NeillPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

PRIME Minister O’Neill has undermined his own calls for honesty in the election when describing the national budget (see Post-Courier story here and O’Neill’s website here).

In describing the K13 billion national budget to an election crowd in Popondetta, O’Neill appears to have deliberately covered up the third largest item of government expenditure – escalating debt interest payments.

These payments of K1.5 billion now account for more than a tenth of the entire budget.

The prime minister hid this by overstating education expenditure by K500 million, health expenditure by K500 million and public service machinery by K500 million (see table comparing actual budget with O'Neill's 'sweet talk' version here).

PNG's real spendingComparing the 2013 budget to the 2017 budget (both K13 billion in nominal terms), the biggest change is that debt interest costs have gone up by K1 billion and transport funding has been slashed from K2 billion to K1 billion.

Free (K20m) healthcare was only ever provided 3% of the health budget– nowhere near enough to cover the real costs of free health. And even this has been cut by 20% in real terms since its announcement.

And ‘tuition fee free’ education support has been cut in real terms by 30% between 2013 and 2017.

As the prime minister says, the people should “not be fooled by desperate candidates misleading them with sweet talk”.

Read Paul Flanagan’s detailed analysis here

Will these 2017 elections be the most crooked in PNG’s history?

Electoral Commision posterBRYAN KRAMER with Kunumb Lapun Komni

JUST a week before some four million people around country cast their votes in Papua New Guinea, the Electoral Commission has yet to release both the updated common roll and the candidates posters.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has failed to carry out a proper update of the common roll with many people not registered and failed to implement an objection period affording the public the opportunity to confirm their names as properly registered on the common roll.

Continue reading "Will these 2017 elections be the most crooked in PNG’s history?" »

Three missionaries deported & the churches are quiet

DeportedSAM KOIM

THE hasty deportation of three missionaries in separate suspicious circumstances should not go without a challenge. Where is the Christian community?

Touching a missionary touches the core of Christianity in Papua New Guinea. It is expected that churches would rise up and condemn such actions regardless of which church the expelled missionary came from.

The deportation of one missionary should be considered an attack on Christianity in PNG.

It’s a week since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deported the three missionaries but the silence of the Church is deafening. Where is the so called PNG Council of Churches or the de facto Body of Christ?

Continue reading "Three missionaries deported & the churches are quiet" »

Budget cuts are compromising universities & education system

Students at University of PNG (ABC)SIR MEKERE MORAUTA

PAPUA New Guinea’s premier educational institutions – our universities - are dying a death of a thousand cuts under the O’Neill regime.

According to the 2017 budget papers, funding for UPNG, Unitech and the University of Goroka was cut by almost 27% this year.

Not content with his free education fraud and savage cuts to the general education budget, prime minister Peter O’Neill is also attacking the three leading universities.

In real terms, funding for the three universities was reduced by K46 million in the 2017 budget.

Continue reading "Budget cuts are compromising universities & education system" »

PNG owes much to its missionaries (Mr Pato please take note)


FOREIGN Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato should be ashamed of himself if he gave the approval for lay missionary Douglas Tennent to be deported from Papua New Guinea.

Missionaries appear to be his targets for deportation. There have been a number of other cases.

The minister should know that Catholic and Lutheran missionaries were the first to bring essential services like health and education to his own Enga Province in the late 1940s.

Rimbink (pictured here) himself attended St Paul’s Lutheran High, the first to be established near his village in Wapenamanda by missionaries.

Continue reading "PNG owes much to its missionaries (Mr Pato please take note)" »

Panguna women say BCL didn’t consult & isn’t welcome

Panguna landowner Lynette Ona (Catherine Wilson)LOOP PNG

WOMEN in Central Bougainville and landowners around the Panguna copper mine site are opposing the reopening of the mine.

A delegation of Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) representatives, who conducted a mining forum in Panguna and Arawa last week, was met with stiff opposition from locals.

In Panguna, Regina Eremari, a landowner who represents the grassroots women of the area, said ABG leaders were not considering the voice of the women.

“We women are the custodians and landowners of the land, not the men,” she said. “In the past, it was the men who the led and spoilt our land and environment through mining, which resulted in the Bougainville crisis.”

Continue reading "Panguna women say BCL didn’t consult & isn’t welcome" »

What does Peter O’Neill know about the election that we don’t?


PRIME minister Peter O’Neill has once again told us that the People’s National Congress will win more than 40 seats at the fothcoming election and form the next government.

Why the absolute confidence, Mr Prime Minister? This is an election with thousands of candidates and many parties competing on a level playing field under the same rules.

Or is it? Tell us all what gives you this absolute confidence.

Have you got any special advantage over other candidates and parties? Do you know something that we don’t know?

Public sentiment, including in the prime minister’s own electorate, is firmly against him and PNC.

Continue reading "What does Peter O’Neill know about the election that we don’t?" »

Empty promise of ICAC symbolises failure to act against corruption

Sam Koim and Task Force Sweep personnelACT NOW

VOTING in Papua New Guinea’s national elections starts on Saturday 24 June and existing members of parliament and their challengers are trying to convince voters of what has not been done and why, what needs to change and what the process of change is.

This is nothing new. We’ve seen it rolled out at every election since independence. Intending candidates and political parties come up with promises that are almost immediately forgotten when they arrive in the Haus Tambaran.

The most immediate problem in our country is the lack of accountability. The inability to effectively deal with corruption is evident and, while the promises to tackle corruption continue to make the headlines, they are seemingly mere rhetoric.

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Positive steps needed to drive sexism out of PNG media

Post-Courier-cartoonMICHELLE NAYAHAMUI ROONEY | DevPolicy Blog | Extracts

RECENTLY, the Post-Courier, one of Papua New Guinea’s oldest and largest daily newspapers, ran a cartoon featuring a Papua New Guinean female candidate in the 2017 national general elections.

She is dressed in a short skirt while discussing her election aspirations for a healthy democracy. Behind her a Papua New Guinean man is sweating; somewhat delirious, with red love hearts floating above his head, he is more interested in watching her paint – and watching her backside.

The underlying message is clear: try as they might to contribute to a healthy democracy, women contesting the PNG 2017 national elections are merely the objects of men’s desire.

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Deported NZ missionary wants clarity from PNG Immigration


A NEW Zealand missionary deported from Papua New Guinea says he wants PNG Immigration to spell out to him how he breached his visa.

Despite a court order staying his deportation, Douglas Tennent (pictured) was forced to leave PNG on Monday after being told on Friday by immigration officials he was abusing the conditions of his religious worker visa.

Mr Tennent had been working at the Rabaul archdiocese where among his roles was helping local people affected by multi-national Rimbunan Hijau's palm oil operations.

Now back in New Zealand, Mr Tennent said he wants just two things.

"One of them is to return to PNG to continue my work with the archdiocese in helping local people on infrastructure and land issues," he said.

Continue reading "Deported NZ missionary wants clarity from PNG Immigration" »