Previous month:
August 2017
Next month:
October 2017

92 posts from September 2017

John Momis says O'Neill ill-informed in referendum comments

Dr John Momis (RNZI)
Dr John Momis - angered by Peter O'Neill's comments on the referendum on Bougainville's political future

DON WISEMAN | Dateline Pacific, Radio New Zealand

WELLINGTON - The president of Bougainville, John Momis, says Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill is ill-informed and misleading in his statements on the region's independence referendum.

Earlier this week Mr O'Neill told parliament that the referendum may not go ahead.

The referendum is the final act of the Bougainville Peace Agreement which was signed amid much fanfare in Arawa on Bougainville in 2001.

The agreement followed the end of a bitter civil war that is thought to have claimed as many as 20,000 lives. Under the deal, an autonomous parliament was set up in Bougainville in 2005, and given the power and responsibility to guide the province towards a vote on possible independence by June of 2020 at the latest.

Continue reading "John Momis says O'Neill ill-informed in referendum comments" »

World's largest butterfly faces extinction due to palm oil industry

Queen-alexandra-birdwing (angelus-palik)
In Oro Province, the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing species is dwindling (Angelus Palik/SBBT)

SUBHOJIT GOSWAMI | Down to Earth | Edited

NEW DELHI - It is perhaps because of their beauty and grace that they were named after the wife of Edward VII.

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, the largest butterfly in the world with a wingspan of 30cm—at least 10 times the size of common butterflies—was discovered in Papua New Guinea in 1906.

More than a century later, one of the world’s rarest species has become the most endangered. In Oro Province, its last frontier, the density of this butterfly has shrunk to only 10 per square kilometre. They are now handful in number, but what’s causing the species to dwindle?

PNG has an ideal climate for palm production and the industry is fast expanding.

With traditional locations for plantations running out, companies are turning to clearing unexploited tropical forests - natural habitat of the birdwing butterfly.

Continue reading "World's largest butterfly faces extinction due to palm oil industry" »

Sharper teeth for ICAC but PM still controls appointments


Eddie Tanago
Eddie Tanago

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government's decision not to water down the powers of the proposed Independent Commission Against Corruption has been welcomed by community advocacy group Act Now!

Two-weeks ago Justice Minister Davis Steven said the government had amended draft legislation creating the ICAC to remove its powers of arrest and prosecution.

However, following concerns raised by Act Now! and other civil society groups, that the government was creating a “toothless monster”, Mr Steven announced the government would stick with the original 2015 ICAC bill with no revisions.

We welcome the minister’s statement the bill is not being watered down and the full powers of arrest and prosecution will remain as in the published version.

It is positive the government is listening to community concerns.

We now urge the government to go further and extend the same powers of arrest and prosecution to other anti-corruption institutions like the Auditor General, Ombudsman Commission and any future Commission of Inquiry so these bodies can enforce their own findings.

Continue reading "Sharper teeth for ICAC but PM still controls appointments" »

After a word of prayer, Rev Dr Kemung was called home

Rev Dr Zirajukic KemungWARIME GUTI

LAE - The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea has lost one of its senior pastors, the theologian, academic and profound philosopher Rev Dr Zirajukic Kemung.

Dr Kemung was called home to rest last Saturday while preaching at the pulpit. After a short introduction to his sermon, he said a word of prayer and collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead after an hour.

Dr Kemung was awarded his doctorate in theology from Neudettlesau, Germany, in 1996. He was the second of four Papua New Guinean Lutheran theologians to hold a doctorate in theology.

The others are former head bishop the late Chief Rt Rev Dr Wesley Kigasung, current Martin Luther Seminary principal Rev Dr Michael Wann, and dean of the ministry faculty at the Pacific Theological College in Fiji, Rev Dr Kiki.

Continue reading "After a word of prayer, Rev Dr Kemung was called home" »

PNG family violence hotline receives 8,000 calls in 2 years

Violence hotline (Thomson Reuters)
The number to call if you're experiencing family violence


PORT MORESBY - An iron rod, an angry husband, and a petrified wife locked in a storeroom at work.

Defusing potentially deadly scenarios is a typical day at the office for counsellors at Papua New Guinea's domestic violence hotline, which has just clocked up its second anniversary.

Violence against women in PNG is at epidemic proportions with an estimated two-thirds experiencing physical and sexual abuse in their lifetimes.

The hotline has instigated police intervention 900 times since its inception.

It receives some funding from ChildFund Australia and has answered almost 8,000 calls, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Surprisingly, 49% of callers are men seeking relationship advice.

Continue reading "PNG family violence hotline receives 8,000 calls in 2 years" »

A bumptious, unwise Peter O’Neill stirs the Bougainville pot

John Momis & Peter O'Neill
John Momis & Peter O'Neill - hostilities move into the open


NOOSA – It wasn’t so much the content as the arrogance of prime minister Peter O'Neill’s airy statement about Bougainville’s political future that came as a bombshell.

Bougainville’s ‘independence’ referendum scheduled for 15 June 2019 will not go ahead unless key conditions are met, O’Neill told the Papua New Guinea parliament on Tuesday.

And yesterday, Bougainville president Dr John Momis predictably reacted with anger, and said O'Neill was dead wrong.

“The referendum is inevitable. It's been decided. We will have a referendum," came the sharp retort.

Addressing the PNG parliament, O'Neill had stated that Bougainville’s autonomous government will be required to meet certain criteria before the referendum can be held.

These, O'Neill said, included “a proper establishment of rule of law, proper establishment of a government structure [and] proper disposal of weapons.

Continue reading "A bumptious, unwise Peter O’Neill stirs the Bougainville pot" »

The feast of mademai & the transformation of Miti

Feast of MademaiJULIE KONDI

KIMBE - The laulau trees rustled gently against the afternoon breeze as willy wagtails chirped on their branches while the blue sky looked down happily.

The open sea, in a crimson shade, glistened as men and women went about their chores leaving behind in the village the old, the frail, the sick and children.

The village was quiet as the older children tended to their tasks as the younger siblings played.

Old Makuri hummed a soft tune in her head, a faraway look on her face.

The lahara wind had started to dance again last night. Tossing and tearing things in its path. And the river bed was cracking and opening its jaws in the remorseless heat. The merciless weather had been too hard and too long.

The old people in the village called it ‘baimara’, the season of deep hunger.

This reign of misery was a hollowed restlessness that drew goodness from all around, weighing hard on the spirit.

Continue reading "The feast of mademai & the transformation of Miti" »

Quick action to address the shame of no female MPs

Bryan Kramer
Bryan Kramer


MADANG - A week-long forum is being held in Madang to recognise women’s participation in Papua New Guinean politics.

The program is part of a United Nations initiative to promote more women parliamentarians.

Despite not having representatives in this Parliament, women around the country are working to ensure they participate in the future.

Member for Madang, Bryan Kramer, missed Tuesday’s sitting of parliament to join the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates, Dr Alphonse Gelu, at the forum.

Alphonse Gelu
Dr Alphonse Gelu

Mr Kramer spoke of his experience in the 2017 national election as a way of helping women plan their way to a political career.

Dr Gelu said his organisation understood the need to promote more women leaders in PNG.

UN representative David Ephraim said 110 people were invited to the forum, mostly women.

The different parties and individuals involved in the forum are hoping programs as such will inspire and provide ideas for women aspiring to be politicians.

PNG still to convince investors that opportunities worth the risks

PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics Paul Flanagan

CANBERRA – Papua New Guinea’s supplementary budget, due out this week, is a key document for rebuilding investor confidence. Can it demonstrate the resilience of the great PNG Hunters win on Sunday?

There has been encouraging news over the last few weeks from new Treasurer Charles Abel. This included a commitment to better processes of consultation, better transparency and indication of a willingness to cut electoral funds.

The sale of the Oil Search shares, though, was an awful initial mistake.

The PNG investment conference in Sydney earlier this month was also an opportunity to build investor confidence in PNG. How did it go?

Continue reading "PNG still to convince investors that opportunities worth the risks" »

Beware the wisdom of the elders – age may have wearied us


TUMBY BAY – Last week I received a telephone call from a Butchulla acquaintance in Hervey Bay, Queensland - one of a number of people I worked with while researching indigenous heritage on Fraser Island.

He insists on calling me ‘uncle’, which is a term of respect in modern Aboriginal communities. It sits somewhere between acknowledging my advanced age and acknowledging my alleged knowledge and wisdom.

Over here in South Australia, many Western desert people I meet address me as ‘tjilpi’, which is the equivalent of ‘lapun igat save’ in Tok Pisin.

It acknowledges my grey hair and understanding of their country and culture, which I acquired while traipsing around the desert with their grandparents in the 1970s and 1980s.

Continue reading "Beware the wisdom of the elders – age may have wearied us" »

Refugee rift piques PNG's anti Australian sentiment

Ann Deslandes

ANN DESLANDES | Eureka Street

SYDNEY - As Behrouz Boochani reports from Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, a number of the over 900 refugee men who have been detained there by Australia will soon fly to the United States where, under the fraught deal struck between the US and Australian governments in 2016, they will be allowed to settle.

The Australian government is shutting down the detention centre on Manus while many of the refugees who have been detained there over the past four years are demanding, as they have from the beginning, that they be afforded the human right of being permitted to settle in Australia — a country where they are likely to be safe from war, poverty, and persecution.

They have suffered beatings, deaths, and endemic mental illness in detention on Manus, and the alternatives being suggested by the Australian government — settlement in PNG or return to the country from which they are seeking asylum — are no better for them.

Continue reading "Refugee rift piques PNG's anti Australian sentiment" »

Green, amber or red: How DFAT rates its aid performance


Aid Program Performance Report, 2016-17 – Papua New Guinea: Introduction & Executive Summary. Read the complete report here

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea, positioned as the gateway between Asia and the Pacific, has immense economic potential driven by its significant natural resource endowment.

This brings opportunities for economic growth, but also economic, social and political challenges driven by issues such as population growth, urbanisation, and ageing infrastructure.

Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is maturing, reflecting this transition, by our closest neighbour, to an integrated Asia Pacific developing economy.

This Aid Program Performance Report summarises the performance of Australia’s aid program in Papua New Guinea from July 2016 to June 2017 against the Papua New Guinea Aid Investment Plan 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Continue reading "Green, amber or red: How DFAT rates its aid performance" »

The Hunters famous win - an inspiration to fight for PNG

SAM KOIM The crowd

BRISBANE - The PNG Hunters made all of us proud at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The opponents, the Sunshine Coast Falcons, scooped up two easy tries at the start of the game which got many PNG fans wondering whether we'd ever make it.

Our boys came back as ferocious raging bulls, nullifying our opponent’s every claim of territory, and proceeded to take complete control of the game.

Our emotions all hung out when our boys claimed the last winning try to seal victory.

Continue reading "The Hunters famous win - an inspiration to fight for PNG" »

An ode to the PNG Hunters

DeterminationMALUM NALU

They came from north of the border
To the colosseum at Suncorp
Modern-day gladiators
Hunters from Papua New Guinea

They carried the hopes and dreams of a nation
Upon their shoulders
So much gloom, doom and despair
A little ray of sunshine was needed

All was lost, it seemed
When in from the cold came Willie Minoga
Like a runaway freight train from Enga
Grounding the ball at the last minute

Continue reading "An ode to the PNG Hunters" »

APEC 2018 – building PNG’s image in the Asia-Pacific region

APEC 2018 conference venue (Post-Courier)
Model of APEC conference venue off Ela Beach


TUMBY BAY - We’ve seen a lot of comment about the profligate expenditure by Peter O’Neill on the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum schedules for Port Moresby next year.

Central to this has been the construction of a special venue off Ela Beach and the hiring of several ocean liners to accommodate the participants.

This has detracted from what might be a very important meeting, especially for Pacific Island nations like Papua New Guinea.

In particular it will determine how PNG develops its increasing reliance on the Peoples Republic of China.

APEC started as an Australian initiative in 1989. It was born out of concern by then treasurer Paul Keating that the Asia-Pacific region would fall under the dominance of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world, especially Europe.

Continue reading "APEC 2018 – building PNG’s image in the Asia-Pacific region" »

Vice-Chancellor tells: How to transform a university of technology

Albert Schram
Dr Albert Schram is Vice-Chancellor of the PNG University of Technology in Lae


This article originally appeared in the Bulletin of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, No 191, August 2017

LAE - The Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT or UNITECH) was modelled on similar institutes or universities of technology set up all over the commonwealth during the 20th century.

Many of these universities have not developed further, have completely run-down infrastructure, and produce substandard graduates.

Many of these universities are now decrepit, their curriculum sclerotic, and their operations have atrophied. How to transform them into functional institutions producing employable graduates is a major challenge.

The PNGUoT is a case in point. In 1965 in colonial times, the PNGUoT was founded as an Institute by an Act of the House of Assembly, and in 1969 the 220 hectare campus in Lae was opened by the Paul Hasluck, the Governor General of Australia.

Continue reading "Vice-Chancellor tells: How to transform a university of technology" »

Was it a greener field, Sam Basil, or something less pleasant?


Sam Basil & Peter O'Neill (ABC)
Sam Basil - still awaiting a payday after being enticed across the aisle by Peter O'Neill

KUNDIAWA - It is now two weeks since nine members of the Pangu Party, including its leader Sam Basil, and four independents left the opposition in search of greener pastures in Peter O’Neill’s paddock.

It was a move that shocked Papua New Guinea.

Supporters of Pangu and ordinary Papua New Guineans had held Sam Basil in high respect for his personal stand against corruption and his often repeated condemnation of the corrupt government of Peter O’Neill.

They found it hard to swallow the new reality of Sam Basil’s u-turn to get into bed with O’Neill.

Social media commentators had a field day, calling Basil a Judas, liar, opportunist, pretender, hypocrite of the century and more.

In his self-justification through a media statement, Basil said O’Neill had invited him and Pangu to join the government and he had thankfully accepted.

Continue reading "Was it a greener field, Sam Basil, or something less pleasant?" »

A brief note on educating girls….

Girls in PNG school (ANU Crawford School)TANYA ZERIGA-ALONE | EmNauPNG Blog

PORT MORESBY - When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.

When you give opportunities to a girl to evolve to something higher than her current state, she inevitably raises everyone around her to that new standard.

Her man or any potential male out there wanting her attention has to raise their standard to meet hers.

The same for other women in her life, be it girlfriends, aunties, mothers.

And when she has her own family she raises them up to the standard she has been exposed to.

Continue reading "A brief note on educating girls…." »

Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back

TIANA TEMPLEMAN | New Zealand Herald

P&O liner anchored in PNG
'Pacific Eden' is greeted by islanders in Milne Bay - "fierce yet friendy"

You can read the full article here

AUCKLAND - Ever run into someone you haven't seen in years and been amazed by how fabulous they look?

That is exactly how my husband and I feel when we board P&O Cruises' Pacific Eden. We have not sailed with P&O since the 1990s, when our South Pacific cruise was memorable for all the wrong reasons, and cannot believe how much the line has changed.

The hard-partying, low-budget vibe of old has been replaced by glamorous bars, upmarket specialty dining, attractive public spaces and family fun.

It had been a long time coming but we decided to give P&O Cruises another try because it was one of the few lines cruising regularly to Papua New Guinea, one of the South Pacific's most stunning emerging cruising destinations.

Continue reading "Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back" »

Oz players on playing league against PNG: ‘I got hit by granite’

Australia v PNGJAMES BUCKLEY | Fairfax Media | Edited extract

SYDNEY - Speak to anyone that's played rugby league in Papua New Guinea, and they will all furnish you with unbelievable stories of the insatiable passion the locals possess for their national sport.

PNG is a developing and diverse country with more than 800 languages, high crime and significant unemployment, but rugby league is the constant that unites its eight million people.

But when their Australian heroes come to these shores for the annual Prime Minister's XIII fixture against Papua New Guinea, played yesterday, quite often that lust for the game bubbles over into tragedy.

Cronulla back rower Wade Graham played his first PM's XIII match in 2012 and it's an experience he'll never forget.

"The grandstand collapsed the year I was there and a few people died, it was pretty full on," Graham said.

Continue reading "Oz players on playing league against PNG: ‘I got hit by granite’" »

APEC forum will benefit people throughout PNG: Lepani

Artist’s impression of APEC Haus
Artist’s impression of APEC Haus off Port Moresby's Ela Beach

STAFF REPORTER | Business Advantage PNG | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea businesses should expect income streams from next month as momentum builds towards the APEC summit in November 2018, director-general of the APEC PNG coordination authority, Sir Charles Lepani, says.

He told a Business Advantage PNG investment summit in Sydney that hotels, small business suppliers and the informal sector throughout PNG will benefit from preparations for next year’s APEC leaders’ summit in Port Moresby.

Sir Charles said his authority needed to manage expectations, noting that the summit will not change PNG overnight. But he said it would establish a foundation for stronger growth, bringing in much-needed foreign exchange and raising PNG’s profile.

Continue reading "APEC forum will benefit people throughout PNG: Lepani" »

Foreign exchange restrictions in PNG: costs & remedies


CANBERRA - Three years after their introduction in mid-2014, Papua New Guinea’s foreign exchange restrictions continue to be in place. Unofficial ballpark estimates of excess demand range between US$300 million to 1 billion.

In a 2017 Business Advantage survey of CEOs, 60% nominated access to foreign exchange as “the major obstacle… more than double any other challenge.”

Interviews with businesses reveal that they have to spend significantly more time on finding foreign exchange and managing the credit situation with their overseas suppliers. This increases their administrative costs, which are likely passed on to the consumers.

Continue reading "Foreign exchange restrictions in PNG: costs & remedies" »

Billion kina down drain in illegal Oil Search share deal debacle

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta


PORT MORESBY - I was astounded to hear news of the O’Neill Government’s fire sale of its shares in Oil Search at a loss of more than a billion kina.

We always knew that this illegal deal between the prime minister, Oil Search and Union Bank of Switzerland was a bad deal, a bad investment and a bad use of public money, but we never knew it would be this bad.

The total cost to the people of Papua New Guinea is likely to be more than K1 billion. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must come clean on the exact costs.

He must also come clean on whether the sale was caused by his government’s inability to repay the loan. For Sir Moi Avei, chairman of Kumul Petroleum, to say that the decision to sell the shares was a commercial decision taken by the board is not believable.

Selling at a loss – announced by Kumul Petroleum as $US254 million - is not a sound commercial decision. The shares were legally owned by the bankers as security for the loan; they were not Kumul Petroleum’s to sell.

Continue reading "Billion kina down drain in illegal Oil Search share deal debacle" »

Are our consumer habits killing our own PNG businesses?

Rosa Koian
Rosa Koian


PORT MORESBY - Two stories on Facebook got my attention first thing Monday morning, the day after the 42nd Papua New Guinea independence celebrations.

The first was about women entrepreneurs who manufacture PNG colours feeling the pinch of competition as very cheap overseas colours flood the street markets.

The second was about the infiltration of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs who are taking over small businesses reserved for Papua New Guineans.

Both stories provided an insight into our PNG ways: the way we think about business and the way we operate in the business world.

The first thing we want is cheap.

For many of us it doesn’t matter how low the quality as long as the colour appeals to the eye and the price appeals to the pocket. We ask why spend K50 for one when we can get three for K45.

Continue reading "Are our consumer habits killing our own PNG businesses?" »

PNG needs champions & role models in our society today

Tanya Zeriga-Alone
Tanya Zeriga-Alone


PORT MORESBY - Most of us are of the first generation since PNG gained independence.

We are the leading edge of change. We are the cutting edge in a journey from Stone Age to colonialism to independence to integration into the post-modern era.

The future generation depends on our example. What example are we setting?

It is easy to go with the flow, to stick with the familiar, because the familiar is easy and requires no effort to maintain. Mediocrity requires no sacrifice.

Growing beyond the familiar takes hard work. The mental and emotional effort is as taxing as physical labour. Effort that makes you question yourself to reveal the authentic you; effort that makes you push back the doubts that you may fail and to embrace the chance that you may just make it.

Continue reading "PNG needs champions & role models in our society today" »

Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific

John Greenshields
John Greenshields


ADELAIDE - On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea.

Seven of us were there in August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response from the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect.

We weren’t there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.

Continue reading "Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific" »

The issues stifling PNG literature: shame, division & segregation


Not being believed (Hanna Barczyk)
Hanna Barczyk illustration for Amber Tamblyn’s, ‘I’m Done With Not Being Believed’, New York Times, 16 September 2017

BRISBANE – “Hilary Clinton is finally expressing some righteous anger: Why does that make everyone else so mad?” is the title of an op-ed piece capturing the often hostile reaction to the recent release of Hilary Clinton’s post-election memoir ‘What Happened’.

The article’s author, Rebecca Traister, opens by referring to Clinton’s speech to the 2017 graduating class of Wellesley College, the Massachusetts liberal arts college for women established in 1870 and Clinton’s alma mater.

Wellesley was also the setting of the 2003 film, ‘Mona Lisa Smile’, in which a star-studded cast of Hollywood’s leading women deliver an important message about the life choices women should have the right to determine irrespective of peer, family and societal pressures.

Continue reading "The issues stifling PNG literature: shame, division & segregation" »

‘Outrageous junket’ triggers strong criticism of central bank

Mekere Morauta
Sir Mek - unhappy with central bank governor Bakani


PORT MORESBY - The current trip by the board of the Bank of Papua New Guinea to the Federated States of Micronesia is an outrage.

I cannot understand why the board could not meet in Port Moresby to save money at a time when the government and country has severe cash flow problems and a shortage of foreign exchange.

Can governor Loi Bakani tell us how much this trip is costing the bank? How much is it costing for the entire board of eight members, assistant governors, board secretary and other support staff to travel to and stay in Micronesia?

It is an insult to all the individuals and businesses owed money by the government to see the Bank of Papua New Guinea wasting it in this manner. 

Continue reading "‘Outrageous junket’ triggers strong criticism of central bank" »

Heaps of people from PNG to see Hunters, says Justin Olam

Sunshine Coast Falcons centre Justin Olam (Warren Lynam)
Justin Olam in full flight for the Sunshine Coast Falcons

TOM THREADINGHAM | Sunshine Coast Daily

MAROOCHYDORE -: Although Sunshine Coast Falcon Justin Olam says he is proud of his fellow PNG Hunters countrymen for achieving a spot in the final, come kick-off there will be no love lost.

Olam played for the Hunters last year and before that he was part of Lae Snax Tigers.

The centre expects a tough clash in Sunday afternoon’s Intrust Super Cup grand final in Brisbane, but said there was no rivalry or ill-will between the Hunters and himself.

"It's a bit different and I've never played against my (old) team like that in such big games but I'm a Falcon so I'll give my best for the Falcons,” he said.

"It's just a game, it’s not about rivalry or whatever.

"I think they are going to play hard to win the game and we will play hard to win the game and that's it.”

Continue reading "Heaps of people from PNG to see Hunters, says Justin Olam" »

PNG faces a tough road ahead but positives are emerging


You can read Paul’s complete article together with links here

CANBERRA - The press release from the latest mission of the world’s International Monetary Fund highlights the difficult road ahead for Papua New Guinea in dealing with recent years of bad luck and economic mismanagement.

On the fiscal front, the IMF considers that the PNG government will fail in the supplementary budget to bring the 2017 budget deficit back to the target of 2.5% of GDP. Rather, it estimates the deficit will be “a little over 3%” – so a gap of some K370 million relative to the 100 day plan target.

The goal to reduce the debt to GDP ratio back to the legislated level of 30% as part of the 2017 supplementary budget is also recognised as infeasible. Instead, the suggestion is a medium-term objective of moving to a balanced budget by 2020 (and GDP growth will work to reduce the ratio).

So the first two targets in new Treasurer Abel’s 100 day plan are likely to fail.

Continue reading "PNG faces a tough road ahead but positives are emerging" »

Govt's removal of powers creates ICAC ‘toothless monster’

CorruptionEDDIE TANAGO | Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea government has amended draft legislation for an Independent Commission Against Corruption to remove some of its most critical powers, opening the doors to political interference.

The government is watering down the powers of the ICAC and will be creating exactly the kind of 'toothless monster' the secretary for justice has written about.

The government changes were announced at a UPNG Seminar last week by Minister for Justice Davis Stevens.

He said the government has removed ICAC’s powers of arrest and prosecution and placed the prime minister in charge of the appointments process for commissioners.

Continue reading "Govt's removal of powers creates ICAC ‘toothless monster’" »

Human rights abuses needs national & community approach

DespairSYDNEY NAM | The Borgen Project | Edited extracts

SEATTLE - While Papua New Guinea has enjoyed the benefits of economic improvement due to extractive industries, more than 40% of its population of more than seven million live in poverty.

The state of human rights in PNG is severely lacking and includes government corruption, abuse of female rights, inhumane conditions for asylum seekers, police brutality, lack of minority rights and prosecution for sexual orientation and gender identity,.

Police abuse is rampant. Between 2007 and 2014, a total of 1,600 complaints regarding police brutality were logged by the internal affairs directorate. The government has yet to release how many of these cases resulted in judicial proceedings.

Continue reading "Human rights abuses needs national & community approach" »

Scourge of leprosy, a disease of the poor, returns to PNG


PORT MORESBY - Sitting in the car I could see her in the distance – running, half limping.

After a while I got out and moved to the front of the vehicle and waited for her.

Rebecca slowed down as she approached but continued towards me. I could see she was excited but, just as she came close, she turned as if to dash away and escape.

I grabbed her and held her close to me.

Rebecca is a 15-year-old girl who lives on the outskirts of Port Moresby.

She is spending her early years living in shame because of her condition.

Continue reading "Scourge of leprosy, a disease of the poor, returns to PNG" »

KTF project has retrained over 1,200 elementary teachers

TESS GIZORIA | Kokoda Track Foundation Dr Nelson awards a certificate to a graduate

LORENGAU - Fifty-seven elementary teachers from Manus Province have received certificates of elementary teaching after completing the Teach for Tomorrow project delivered by the Kokoda Track Foundation, the Papua New Guinea Education Institute and the Manus Provincial Department of Education.

The certificate enables partially trained teachers – some 7,500 across PNG – to upgrade their qualifications to meet the PNG government’s changes to the minimum qualifications required of elementary teachers.

Without the additional six weeks training, the teachers would no longer be employable, putting at risk the schooling of hundreds of thousands of students.

The training, delivered in facilities hosted by the M’Bunai community, gave the 57 teachers the skills, knowledge and qualifications to be registered as fully certified teachers, eligible to be on the government’s payroll.

Continue reading "KTF project has retrained over 1,200 elementary teachers" »

BCL says return will give ‘impetus’ to sectors other than mining

Justin (Ted) RogersKEITH JACKSON

BUKA - Bougainville Copper Ltd says it considers the development of primary industries and tourism as critical to Bougainville’s future economic success, and says employment is a “fundamental” objective.

“In terms of our efforts as a company in mineral resources, we are certainly looking to complement other sectors and provide impetus for them to prosper and grow,” BCL’s executive manager Justin (Ted) Rogers said as the company made a high profile return to Arawa in central Bougainville.

The visit by the four-person team from 5-8 September coincided with the National Boxing Championships –which BCL sponsor – and the 2017 Bougainville Chocolate Festival.

The group also included Buka-based Bougainville manager Ephraim Eminoni and recently appointed senior project officers, Ezekiel Burain and Genevieve Itta.

Continue reading "BCL says return will give ‘impetus’ to sectors other than mining" »

Electronic voting is needed in PNG - Mathias Kin

Mathias & Ingrid
Mathias Kin with Ingrid Jackson at a viewpoint on the Kundiawa-Gembogl road

JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

KUNDIAWA - A man who stood in Papua New Guinea's recent election says the country needs to establish an electronic voting system.

Mathias Kin, who stood in Chimbu's regional seat, said that for decades governments have paid lip service to introducing such a system.

He said commitment to this system, and its associated national ID plan, had been lacking at the top political level.

After this year's election threw up a host of problems, including electoral roll and ballot box inconsistencies, Mr Kin said the system needs to change.

While he doubts the system would change before the next election in 2022, Mr Kin said steps must be taken.

Continue reading "Electronic voting is needed in PNG - Mathias Kin" »

Contaminated water is still killing 60 PNGns a week

WaterTUCKER HALLOWELL | The Borgen Project

SEATTLE - As more than 80% of the population lives in remote areas with little to no modern facilities, Papua New Guinea struggles with poor water quality and a lack of awareness about basic human health necessities.

With very little access to clean water, sanitation is poor and disease is rampant.

As access to safe water and sanitation are vital to the basic health needs, the population is at risk.

Poor hygiene leads to poor health and illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea, which kill people every day - 60 a week the statistics say.

Here are some facts about water quality in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Contaminated water is still killing 60 PNGns a week" »

PNG’s body a bit under the weather but better days ahead

Sam-Koim (Business Advantage PNG)SAM KOIM

You can read here the complete speech from which this article was extracted

TOWNSVILLE – Here’s a medical question which requires some form of scientific explanation.

There’s a body that is 42 years old, sitting on a plate of gold, floating on a sea of oil, powered by natural gas, got all the enablers to grow and still struggling to get on its feet and continuing to receive $500 million in aid annually.


I mean, if a body is 42 years old and still yet to get its footing in the rudiments of life, the chemistry is not working well, is it?

Continue reading "PNG’s body a bit under the weather but better days ahead" »

On opportunity, creativity, reciprocity & equity for PNG women


BRISBANE - I’m always thankful for an opportunity.

'Opportunity - a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.'

I particularly cherish and admire individuals who create opportunities to promote the writing and reading of Papua New Guinea-authored literature.

For example Bob Cleland, Michael Dom, Dr Genevieve Nelson, Ed Brumby and PNG journalists Leiao Gerega and Ogia Miamel. And of course there is the ever-supportive duo of Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick, as well my mentors Joan and Murray Bladwell.

In 2015, following an initiative taken by Bob Cleland to meet the organisers of Brisbane Writers Festival, a small PNG-focused group convened over lunch in Brisbane to discuss the opportunity it presented.

The group comprised Bob, Jimmy Drekore, Joycelin Leahy, Murray Bladwell, Rob Parer and Keith Jackson and the goal was to establish a pathway for PNG writers to participate in this internationally renowned literary gathering.

Continue reading "On opportunity, creativity, reciprocity & equity for PNG women" »

After 2017s wipeout, what’s next for women in PNG politics?

Women candidates mocked
A newspaper cartoon mocking female candidates caused social media outrage & retaliation during the recent PNG national election

KERRYN BAKER | East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - For the first time in 20 years, Papua New Guinea has no women at all in its 111-seat national parliament.

While a record 167 women (5% of the total 3,340 candidates), including the three female incumbents, contested the 2017 elections, none was successful.

The electoral contest in PNG is undoubtedly hostile to women, but there are three key pathways that could improve women’s electoral prospects.

First, the campaign playing field should be levelled out for women.

Money politics is a pervasive and, in many parts of PNG, a dominant aspect of election campaigning. The practices of vote-buying, vote-selling, gifting and treating are evident in all regions of PNG, and seem to have increased exponentially in the past few general elections both in terms of the number of people engaged in the practice and in the amounts spent.

Continue reading "After 2017s wipeout, what’s next for women in PNG politics?" »

Trying to solve the mystery of Hal Holman’s wingless fairy

Hal Holman's inscription on the sculptureKEITH JACKSON

LORENGAU – Occasionally I receive an email that truly surprises me, and Friday was one of those times.

Edin Corr, a regular PNG Attitude reader currently in Lorengau, wrote telling of a person from Sori Island off the north coast of Manus who had turned up with a mysterious bronze sculpture.

Edin examined the sculpture and found inscribed the sculptor’s name (right). It was a work of Hal Holman, who died last year leaving a rich legacy of sculpture and painting, much of it part of the modern artistic heritage of Papua New Guinea.

“I was pleasantly surprised to come across this bronze piece by such a renowned artist,” wrote Edin, who then went on to tell me the remarkable story of its discovery.

Continue reading "Trying to solve the mystery of Hal Holman’s wingless fairy" »

Genealogy in PNG: Let’s find out about our ancestors while we can

Maria Kerua
Maria Kerua, early 1950s, daughter of Mt Hagen bigman Ninji


DUBLIN - Some years ago a happily married Mt Hagen woman, Maria, told me a story about her first boyfriend. 

They were from different tribes in the Western Highlands, they had just become friends and were interested in getting to know more about each other.

Then it happened that a great-grandmother of Maria, who lived some distance away, died and Maria went to the funeral, where she spotted her boyfriend.  She knew he was not from that place and asked him, “What are you doing here?”

He replied, “My old great-grandmother died and I am here.”

The two then realised with a shock that they were closely related and, in accord with tribal custom, they could not marry. They split up straight away and Maria later married a man from another tribe.

Continue reading "Genealogy in PNG: Let’s find out about our ancestors while we can" »

We sing our anthem with pride - but what about our daughters



GARY JUFFA | Asia Pacific Report

PORT MORESBY - “O arise all you sons of this land”… here was perhaps one of the problems to progress in Papua New Guinea as we celebrated 42 years of independence yesterday.

Why have we not included the daughters of this land in our national anthem? How have we totally forgotten about them in the most important task of nation building?

Surely they too should rise and build this nation too since it is just as much theirs as it is that of the sons.

Yes that’s correct … our daughters should have the right to rise up for this land and be accorded the dignity and honour of being recognised for their efforts.

I believe we have set a negative psychological platform for Papua New Guinea’s development by excluding a significant segment of the hardest working and most intelligent people in our communities – our womenfolk.

Continue reading "We sing our anthem with pride - but what about our daughters" »

On independence day, it’s time to look for a birthday present

PNG's human development index - off the cliff


CANBERRA - 16 September 2017 marks Papua New Guinea’s 42nd anniversary of independence. How have things been going?

A good benchmark for measuring progress is PNG’s Vision 2050 document. This set out a blueprint for making PNG “a smart, wise, happy and fair society by 2050”.

The vision’s primary measurement indicator is “we will be ranked in the top 50 in the United Nations Human Development Index by 2050”.

So how is PNG going towards meeting this goal? This graph shows PNG’s progress in improving its Human Development Index (this is a composite index of factors such as life expectancy, education, and incomes).

Continue reading "On independence day, it’s time to look for a birthday present" »

What can Australia do to help with elections in PNG?

TERENCE WOOD | DevPolicy Blog

Australian-aid-for-elections-2002-2017 (estimate)
Australian aid for PNG elections 2012-17

CANBERRA - For decades Australia has been at the centre of international efforts to improve elections in Papua New Guinea.

Australia has spent almost US$60 million since 2002. Despite this, the 2017 elections were blighted by a frightening pack of problems.

Given PNG’s electoral woes, it is tempting to conclude aid hasn’t helped. Tempting, but mistaken. Elections may not be good in PNG but good is not the right yardstick for aid success in this area.

As I described in an earlier article, What’s the matter with elections in PNG, Papua New Guinea’s domestic political economy produces forces that are at odds with well-run elections.

Continue reading "What can Australia do to help with elections in PNG?" »

First Port Moresby writers conference was a real success

The panel
John Kasaipwalova, Baka Bina, Alphonse Huvi, Caroline Evari, Emmanuel Peni


PORT MORESBY - A group of about 30 people gathered at World Bank Information on Friday 8 September to participate in the first ever writers conference spearheaded by My Walk to Equality contributing writers Loretta Bele, Alu Ravusiro, Leila Parina, Alphonse Huvi and Caroline Evari with the theme ‘Be Inspired to Write’.

The aim of the conference was to celebrate the success of the book and to use it as an means whereby writers, editors, publishers and like-minded individuals could collaborate.

The event included a panel discussion on relevant topics, experiences and challenges faced by writers; men’s involvement in literature and the need for collaboration; how writing can be used as a platform for addressing issues such as violence, women and youth empowerment, politics, etc. and; what the Port Moresby based MWTE writers would want to see emerging from the books success.

Continue reading "First Port Moresby writers conference was a real success" »

Come back, you’re forgiven: Kerenga urges MPs to switch sides

Kerenga Kua
Kerenga Kua


WELLINGTON - A leading Papua New Guinea opposition MP has called for government MPs to cross to the other side.

 Former attorney-general Kerenga Kua said new MPs could be excused for not knowing the real picture before being elected to office but returning MPs are staying with Peter O'Neill for the wrong reasons.

He said there was no money in the government coffers and its 100-day plan was ridiculous, given it had been running the country for the past six years and was responsible for where PNG is socially and economically.

Mr Kua said crime was out of control in Port Moresby, Lae and Madang. The morale in the police force was at an all-time low because of divisive actions by Commissioner Gari Baki. He said the recent election saw the highest number of deaths and said social unrest would continue because, when a government had compromised itself in the eyes of its people, lawlessness sets in.

42 years of independence marked in a 50,000 year old culture

Stone club head from the Nomad area
Stone club head from the Nomad area


Read more about this story in GenomeWeb here

NEW YORK – On the eve of Independence Day, a fascinating story about how genome researchers have been able to confirm the uniqueness and long history of the people of Papua New Guinea.

Reinforcing that PNG evolved independently from the rest of the world for much of the last 50,000 years, the research – reported in the journal Science - analysed genome profiles from almost 400 people in many different communities throughout the country.

"Using genetics, we were able to see that people on the island of New Guinea evolved independently from rest of the world for much of the last 50,000 years," said senior author Chris Tyler-Smith, a researcher at the Sanger Institute.

Another significant finding was that the split between highland and lowland populations occurred between 10,000 and20,000 years ago.

Continue reading "42 years of independence marked in a 50,000 year old culture" »

We are being softened up for the re-opening of Panguna mine

Panguna mine - now back in play


PANGUNA - There is a lot happening in central Bougainville around the now derelict Panguna mine.

Two local groups, with external financial backing, are engaged in awareness programs - campaigning if you like - for re-opening the mine that operated for about 20 years until hostilities closed it in 1989.

Thence followed the loss of some 10-15,000 Bougainvillean lives and millions and millions of kina worth of damage to assets and property.

Both of these groups on the make are yet to explain to us who suffered directly in the 10 year civil war how this ‘awareness’ or ‘campaigning’ for the re-opening of the mine will affect us and what our role may be.

Continue reading "We are being softened up for the re-opening of Panguna mine" »