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62 posts from March 2018

Juffa & landowners move on pirate loggers as forest boss sacked

Ministerial Brief
First page of a letter in which forest agency boss Tunou Sabuin advises forest minister Douglas Tomuriesa that Oro logging is illegal & should be stopped. Sabuin was fired soon after


NOOSA – The governor of Oro Province, Gary Juffa, continuing his campaign to oust timber pirates from the region, will refer the illegal loggers to the Australian Tax Office and Australian Federal Police having identified they have Australian citizenship although being of Malaysian origin.

Reporting from Oro this morning, Governor Juffa said legitimate forest resource owners are ready to “rise up to get rid of the Minister and the Asian illegal loggers”.

He also said the head of the PNG Forest Agency, Tunou Sabuin, had been removed from his post after advising Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa that the logging was illegal, new permits issued and logs should be seized.

Mr Juffa visited and inspected the site of extensive logging and interviewed people there including landowners and their chiefs and illegal workers

“I found no evidence of agriculture but massive environment damage caused by illegal logging,” he told me.

Mr Juffa also said that Tunou Sabuin, acting managing director of the PNGFA and a career public servant, has been stood down in controversial circumstances.

“It was after a meeting with me in which he assured me that what was happening was illegal,” Mr Juffa said.

“He assured me that the PNG Forest Agency would stop [the illegal logging] and take action.

“He also confided that he felt he would be sacked for telling the Minister and his Chairman that they had erred.

Continue reading "Juffa & landowners move on pirate loggers as forest boss sacked" »

Minister Tomuriesa must begin to act in the interests of PNG

Douglas Tomuriesa
Hon Douglas Tomuriesa MP
Gary Juffa
Governor Gary Juffa MP


ORO - What this nation needs from its people are not just words of support and patriotism from a safe distance but a willingness to rise together and take affirmative action to protect and promote Papua New Guinea’s interests.

Only then will we gain the respect we believe we deserve. Only then can we expect others to respect us, respect our laws and respect our future.

I want you to stand with me to remove the enemies of Papua New Guinean interests who hide in parliament and the public service.

My first message is to Douglas Tomuriesa, Minister for Illegal Logging….  You need to step down!

Continue reading "Minister Tomuriesa must begin to act in the interests of PNG" »

Referendum Poems: Dedicated to lasting peace in Bougainville

Raymond Girana
Ray Girana


Ray Girana has just completed the manuscript for his first collection of verse and it will soon be off to the editors for them to do their work. On this Easter weekend, PNG Attitude is delighted to introduce readers to the book's Prologue and also to one of Ray’s favourite poems from the collection.

BUKA - Bougainville has embarked on a great adventure. It is an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea and will hold a referendum on independence on 15 June 2019.

The moment leading to the referendum is so critical. Bougainville needs great awareness and understanding among its people and an enlightenment that will empower citizens to be active agents of change and development.

The referendum involves choices and decisions from eligible citizens who will cast votes to determine the future political status of Bougainville. This volume of Referendum Poems aims to remind the people of Bougainville of the importance and necessity of making the correct decisions for a peaceful and loving community.

Continue reading "Referendum Poems: Dedicated to lasting peace in Bougainville" »

Morobe leaders call on govt to retain Schram as Unitech head

Children swim in calm waters off Busamang village - one of the many areas in Morobe Province supporting the reinstatement of Unitech's vice-chancellor


LAE – Local leaders from across Morobe Province have petitioned the Papua New Guinea government to prevent the University of Technology Council from removing vice chancellor Dr Albert Schram as head of one of the nation’s leading universities.

Dr Schram was sacked by the Council in February for alleged serious misconduct and breach of his employment contract. He denies the allegations and is taking legal action to contest his dismissal.

In documents sent to PNG Attitude, four different groups of leaders from local authorities in Morobe have pushed back strongly against Dr Schram’s sacking and have sought government intervention in the case.

They represent Lae urban council, Nabak council, Hube council (Finschhafen) and the people of Busamang village.

Continue reading "Morobe leaders call on govt to retain Schram as Unitech head" »

Global partnership in Madang coastal conservation project

RSamuel  KYaro
Rebecca Samuel presents the Living With Change project while program manager Kafuri Yaro looks on


MADANG - A new conservation project launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Madang has brought together a a collaboration between WWF Germany and local project partner WWF Pacific PNG.

The project is located on the province’s north coast including the districts of Madang, Sumkar and Bogia.

“WWF Pacific PNG previously implemented a climate change and coastal resiliency project in Madang,” said Rebecca Samuel, senior marine projects officer.

“This was specific to mangroves, coastal protection and reducing the impacts of flooding in collaboration with 15 coastal communities in the three districts.

“The best practices, processes, lessons and outcomes from the previous project will be used to guide wider community engagement and participation in the new, larger Living With Change project,” she said.

Continue reading "Global partnership in Madang coastal conservation project" »

Renewed mining in Bougainville bumps into Melanesian values

CATHERINE WILSON | Mongabay | Edited extracts  

Panguna today
The abandoned Panguna mine pit today (Catherine Wilson)

Read the complete article by Catherine Wilson here

PANGUNA - Ahead of next year’s referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea, the government of the autonomous region of Bougainville believes reopening the Panguna copper mine is the key to gaining economic self-sufficiency.

In January, traditional landholders rejected a bid by Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL) — now majority owned by the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments — to renew exploration at the mine.

The dispute highlights the ways in which traditional communal landownership in Melanesian states complicates both public and private development projects — and the role landowner groups can play in environmental stewardship.

Traditional landowners in Bougainville exerted their power of veto under the autonomous region’s new mining laws and rejected a corporate bid by BCL to embark on renewed exploration at the war-ravaged Panguna copper mine, which has been dormant for 28 years.

Continue reading "Renewed mining in Bougainville bumps into Melanesian values" »

Asia-Pacific media must empower people to take climate action

David Robie
Prof David Robie

NEWSDESK | Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - News media need to empower people over climate change and to encourage them to take action in their communities and press governments to do more, says Professor David Robie, a New Zealand environmental journalist and advocate.

Professor Robie, director of the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology, told researchers at a recent seminar at Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta that journalists in the Asia-Pacific region needed to step up to the mark.

“We are rapidly running out of time,” he said in an interview with the Indonesian university’s Centre for Southeast Asia Social Studies.

“The news media itself is not terribly good when it comes to long term planning, and long-term issues. It tends to respond to immediate issues and consequences. It lacks the attention span for longer term challenges.”

Continue reading "Asia-Pacific media must empower people to take climate action" »

Papua New Guinea – the Asia-Pacific’s spoiled brat


TUMBY BAY - Paul Oates, in a comment on this blog, has suggested we need to see some good stories coming out of Papua New Guinea for a change.

Daniel Kumbon has countered by saying there are so many bad things happening there's no space to report the good stuff.

There have, in fact, been a few heart-warming stories in PNG Attitude lately but they all seem to relate to dedicated and selfless outsiders coming into the country to provide much-needed help where the government has failed.

These stories are positive in that they refer to good things happening, but bad in that they highlight the PNG government’s indifference and inadequacy.

I think, if they could be lined up, there might be hundreds, if not thousands, of such positive stories that PNG Attitude could report.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea – the Asia-Pacific’s spoiled brat" »

Kramer resigns from Pangu, launches Allegiance political party

Bryan Kramer
Bryan Kramer


MADANG - Member for Madang, Bryan Kramer, has stated on social media that he has officially tendered his resignation from the Pangu Party.

"I submitted my formal resignation as a member of Pangu Pati pursuant to the party constitution, a party I formally joined as a strategic adviser back in 2015,” Mr Kramer said.

“I would like to acknowledge the other members who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to build the machinery that underpinned Pangu's success following the 2017 general elections.

“My resignation follows the Registrar of Political Parties decision approving the name registration of Allegiance Party Inc, a party I now intend to lead in an effort to reshape the PNG's political landscape.”

Continue reading "Kramer resigns from Pangu, launches Allegiance political party" »

‘Destroyed’ Paul Paraka hits back at state with massive lawsuit

NEWSDESK | Pacific Media Centre | Edited extracts

Paul Paraka
Paul Paraka flourishes his legal documents (EMTV)

AUCKLAND - Embattled Papua New Guinean lawyer Paul Paraka has challenged the government with a lawsuit citing a section of the constitution never previously used for “breaching his citizen rights”, the PNG Post-Courier reports.

Mr Paraka has applied to the courts alleging a breach of Section 23 of the PNG Constitution that, if proven, could imprison ministers, members of the anti-corruption Task Force Sweep, heads of state agencies and banks for up to 10 years.

Reporter Jeffrey Elapa says he is seeking hundreds of millions of kina in damages against the state, its agents and the individuals involved.

Mr Paraka, who once owned one of the biggest law firms in PNG, said it was now his time to “declare war” on the state by seeking damages and justice from the court.

He said he is seeking orders to invalidate all actions of the National Executive Council (Cabinet) and Task Force Sweep and seeks extensive damages and compensation for the total loss of his business.

Continue reading "‘Destroyed’ Paul Paraka hits back at state with massive lawsuit" »

Greed & waste on a grand scale is catastrophic for PNG

Derelict chicken factory at Pawas
The K22 million chicken factory at Pawas - derelict & abandoned. Once waste was unknown in PNG


TUMBY BAY - The massive scale of wastage by failed politicians in Enga, as reported by veteran journalist Daniel Kumbon, is simply stunning.

If similar wastage has occurred in the other province, and there’s no reason to believe it hasn’t, just imagine how catastrophic this has been for Papua New Guinea.

And yet, as Daniel reports, nobody seems to care, least of all the successive governments that provided the funds in the first place.

Shaking my head at these unbelievable revelations, I then watch a theatrical press conference held by lawyer Paul Paraka to announce his plan to sue his way through a slew of politicians and public servants for an incredible amount of money ostensibly for the loss of reputation and income caused by questionable government legal practises.

While my opinion of lawyers and politicians has plumbed new depths, I couldn’t help but feel for the ordinary people of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Greed & waste on a grand scale is catastrophic for PNG" »

Bougainville separatist Miriori says ‘no’ to unity mission

Martin Miriori
Martin Miriori

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand

BOUGAINVILLE – Martin Miriori, a leading figure in the Bougainville separatist movement, says efforts to dissuade the people from seeking independence is too late.

Mr Miriori was speaking after it was revealed that former Papua New Guinea prime ministers Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir Julius Chan and Paias Wingti plan to visit Bougainville to try and ensure the country stays unified.

In June next year Bougainvilleans will vote on whether to become independent of PNG as the final step in their region's lengthy peace agreement.

The former prime ministers have been encouraged by prime minister Peter O'Neill to urge Bougainvilleans to stay within PNG, but Mr Miriori says they should have come earlier.

"The effort is too late, much too late. They should have come earlier.

Continue reading "Bougainville separatist Miriori says ‘no’ to unity mission" »

From Canada, Juanita & Debbie help to improve lives in PNG

Juanita Jacobs
Juanita Jacobs with mother and sick baby

GARY KEAN | The Western Star

CORNER BROOK, CANADA - You just never know what might come in handy during a humanitarian mission to a country where the needs are countless.

When retired teacher Debbie Murley and retired paediatrics nurse Juanita Jacobs of Corner Brook left recently on such a mission to Papua New Guinea with the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) organization, they knew they could be of some help.

The pair was among more than 170 volunteers from 15 countries who spent two weeks aboard the YWAM PNG medical ship, visiting various villages along the coast.

It wasn’t just their efforts to deliver health and dental care and education that brought smiles to the residents there.

Continue reading "From Canada, Juanita & Debbie help to improve lives in PNG" »

Corrupt & selfish politics: How billions are lost on trashed projects

Abandoned Murip rice project in Kandep
The twisted remains of the abortive Murip high altitude rice project initiated by ex MP Jimson Sauk


ENGA - Papua New Guinea wastes unaccounted for billions of kina when projects are abandoned after the members of parliament who initiated them lose their seats in elections.

This is not to mention projects that are completely destroyed or abandoned due to tribal warfare, criminal activity or excessive compensation demands.

Another burner of public funds are contractors paid at inflated rates who abandon projects midway and abscond with the money.

After each election the newly-elected leaders selfishly join in when they ignore the incomplete projects left behind by their predecessors as if they were latrine pits in the backyard.

They don’t give a damn about the millions of kina in public funds used to start the projects. After all, the projects were not their idea.

The new mob go ahead to start their own projects, hoping to claim credit for themselves, paving the way for the vicious cycle of waste to continue.

Continue reading "Corrupt & selfish politics: How billions are lost on trashed projects" »

Missionary dentist treats broken jaws & broken lives

Sheena Li in Papua New Guinea  (Sheena Li)
Sheena Li and Papua New Guinean children

SHEENA LI as told to Kate Whitehead | South China Morning Post | Edited extracts

High-flier Sheena Li, who grew up in Hong Kong before her family moved to Canada, shuns wealth and prestige to make a difference among the world’s most needy communities

TORONTO - My parents met at Hong Kong University. My father worked in the Education Bureau and my mum was a social worker. I was born in 1979.

My parents decided to emigrate to Toronto when I was 11 – they thought there would be better opportunities for my brother and I, and there was also uncertainty over the future in Hong Kong.

If we’d stayed in Hong Kong, I don’t think my brother and I would have got the grades to go to university, but in Canada we thrived. I was determined to learn English so I could make friends. I read a lot of books and I read the Bible, which is how I became a Christian.

Continue reading "Missionary dentist treats broken jaws & broken lives" »

Transparency PNG working to build anti-corruption coalitions

TI PNGSTAFF REPORTER | Transparency International PNG

This story is from ‘Real Lives, Real Stories’, a series written by Transparency International staff from national chapters in the Asia Pacific region. The stories have a common message: change is possible when citizens get involved, even when the odds seem stacked against them. This story is from Papua New Guinea, where Transparency International PNG works to help empower local communities to demand accountability and ensure transparency from their government

PORT MORESBY - Madang is a scenic town on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Surrounded by jungle-covered mountains and active volcanoes, it is a popular tourist destination and home to the PNG’s only nickel cobalt mine.

Despite the economic advantages in Madang’s Rai Coast District, the only road connecting it to the rest of the country is a rough dirt track, and there are no bridges to traverse two fast-flowing rivers that cross the track.

People endanger themselves by crossing on foot, with loads of produce carried in coconut-woven baskets on their backs. Income levels are very low in the Rai Coast District, and education is a luxury, while health is rarely taken seriously — even in a place that is plagued by tropical malaria.

Continue reading "Transparency PNG working to build anti-corruption coalitions" »

Is PNG’s regression to tradition a response to elite failure?

Chris Overland
Chris Overland


ADELAIDE – It’s a reasonable point made by Phil Fitzpatrick that most societies operate on the basis of achieving some level of balance between the various competing forces within them.

However, to my mind at least, the larger issue is that Papua New Guinea, in common with much of the former colonial world, is a socially regressive society.

By this I mean that the way these various societies work (or, more often, don't work) is directly related to the extent to which traditional social norms have been resumed in the post-colonial period.

This is most strikingly obvious in Africa where, for example, the appalling atrocities in Rwanda reflected a very long standing antipathy between two rival tribal groups which had been suppressed but not extinguished by the colonial regime.

Continue reading "Is PNG’s regression to tradition a response to elite failure?" »

Australia scrambles as China cements its position in the Pacific

Chan welcomes Bishop to New Ireland: 'Shine coming off the relationship,' he says


NOOSA – Confronted with the reality of a resurgent China bolstering its profile in the Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, Australia has undertaken one of its periodic charm offensives with a whirl through the region by foreign minister Julie Bishop.

The ABC’s Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek reported that Bishop’s tour was a sign that the Australian government is “making a push to re-establish itself as the dominant nation in the South Pacific, with fresh aid spending and official visits”.

But, with Australian investment in PNG going backwards as Chinese money becomes more dominant, it appears once again that Australian diplomacy fits more into its chronic “too little, too late” category rather than signalling a new era of partnership with the region.

Continue reading "Australia scrambles as China cements its position in the Pacific" »

Pictures of an expedition: Barbara Kirk revisits her PNG images

KATY WARD | Edited extracts

Barbara Kirk & tribesman
Barbara Kirk shows a delighted man his photograph on one of her expeditions to PNG

WELLFLEET, USA — It has been more than 50 years since Barbara Kirk pitched her red tent and camped along the coral atolls of the Trobriand Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Or flew in a missionary chopper with hip guys, or trekked a dense rain forest by foot, snapping photographs of tribal villages and their people while on assignment for National Geographic.

But to Kirk it feels like yesterday.

“So many memories,” Kirk says while sipping tea at her home on Paine Hollow Road in Wellfleet. “I was so impressionable and it was all so new.

“I remember the canoeing, flying for hours in little Cessnas and landing in difficult positions for the pilot to get more petrol. It was marvellous.

“Pitching our tent right by water with fish coming in and all the natives hanging out. There was lots of activity. It was interesting. What bugs me is I don’t like the way I dressed. I look kind of corny.”

Continue reading "Pictures of an expedition: Barbara Kirk revisits her PNG images" »

How ignoring cultural balance has disrupted PNG’s social order

Tribal warfare between two clans in the 1960s - such conflict has been widespread for thousands of years


TUMBY BAY - Over the years that I’ve worked as a kiap, social mapper and writer, I’ve picked up a few notions about indigenous cultures that don’t exactly gel with the accepted canon.

These findings have come both from my own experience and, in the last few years, by reading the work of Papua New Guinean writers.

One of the first things I learnt about interpreting cultural matters in PNG was not to generalise or extrapolate. What happens in one place might not happen in others.

So let me zero in on one particular place to illustrate how one of these notions has evolved.

Some of the most interesting writers come from Simbu. Among them are Francis Nii, Mathias Kin and Sil Bolkin.

Continue reading "How ignoring cultural balance has disrupted PNG’s social order" »

Govt fiddles super debt - & its ageing servants die waiting


PORT MORESBY -  The Treasurer’s statement that the government will consider issuing a bond for K230 million to settle the amount it owes to Nambawan Super for public servants who have already retired is a step forward in resolving the long-standing problem for the retirees.

It is not an ideal situation but it is much better than nothing. These former public servants should have received their entitlements in full, including the government’s contribution, when they retired.

It is their legal entitlement. It is a disgrace that the government can give higher priority to expenditure such as APEC rather than paying public servants their legal entitlements.

Continue reading "Govt fiddles super debt - & its ageing servants die waiting" »

How we can stop criminal cartels stealing our PNG forests

Gary Juffa
Gov Gary Juffa (left) has revealed massive breaches of the law in relation to illegal logging in Oro Province

GARY JUFFA | Asia Pacific Report | Pacific Media Centre

ORO - In the ongoing saga of stopping illegal logging in Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province, facts reveal that the PNG Forest Authority is failing our people.

A network exists whereby a few corrupt public servants in both Oro and the PNG Forest Authority have helped facilitate fraud and theft of resources worth millions of kina. Indeed, such a network exists in every province where there is illegal logging.

In Oro we have identified those people involved and they shall be dealt with.

Meanwhile, our investigations reveal that PNGFA is negligent in its efforts and has been facilitating the theft of our forest resources for decades. It is complicit in transnational crime and those who process the paperwork are accomplices.

Continue reading "How we can stop criminal cartels stealing our PNG forests" »

How to get to Australia by boat: a smuggler's guide

See that boat
“See that boat over there running guns, drugs & terros to Australia? Neither can I.”


TUMBY BAY - The Turnbull government won't accept New Zealand's generous offer to resettle 150 refugees each year.

Why? Because it fears that will make it easy to them to transit on to Australia.

And yet it is happy for them to resettle in Papua New Guinea, where transiting to Australia is so much easier.

Just a few kina and a fast boat across Torres Strait.

The gun-runners, drug dealers and the odd terrorist have already worn a useful route for refugees to use.

Here’s the plan.

First you see the OIC Police in Kikori. Hand over the necessary. A quick boat ride to Daru. And then a skiff run to any number of isolated settlements in North Queensland.


Bush pilot in PNG: ‘In the job I’m a pilot not a woman’

LandingGLENYS WATSON as told to Harriet Fitch Little | Financial Times

LONDON - For 10 years, until summer 2017, I was at home with my kids in Hamilton, New Zealand — I’ve got four daughters who are 10, eight, six and three now.

Six years ago, my dad passed away from cancer when he was only 59. That made my husband and I do quite a lot of reflecting on the fact the time we have on Earth is pretty short; we have to make sure that what we’re doing is fulfilling, and that it counts.

Before having children I had worked as a flight instructor, and carried out an air ambulance service for the local district health board. I’d heard about the Mission Aviation Fellowship when I was doing my pilot training and thought it sounded really cool.

Continue reading "Bush pilot in PNG: ‘In the job I’m a pilot not a woman’" »

Resettlement never a viable option: govt must exercise sovereignty

Watna Mori
Watna Mori

WATNA MORI | The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

PORT MORESBY - In mid-2015 I was approached to work as a claims assistance provider at the Manus Regional Processing Centre.

Initially, I was hesitant because I did not want to be part of an arrangement I believed was morally, if not legally, reprehensible.

The processing of asylum seekers was of concern enough, but that the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments actually agreed that resettlement of those found to be refugees was possible in Papua New Guinea was astounding.

I remember my prospective employer asking me during our early meetings what I thought would happen at the end of processing.

I told her of my experience with seven West Papuan asylum seekers in 2013 who had raised the Morning Star flag in West Papua with the support of Australia activists. Raising the Morning Star is a crime in Indonesia, and the seven young men (one was a child) were pursued by the Indonesian military as a result.

Continue reading "Resettlement never a viable option: govt must exercise sovereignty" »

Back to the future – is the world lurching into a new colonialism?

Chris Overland
Chris Overland


ADELAIDE - I recently read a book by the late Professor John Bowle entitled The Imperial Achievement: The Rise and Transformation of the British Empire (Book Club Associates, 1974).

The book represents a conscious attempt by Bowle to place on record a scholarly and dispassionate reassessment of the British Empire, where the very real and often remarkable achievements of the those he calls the Anglo-Saxon colonisers are given more consideration than is now deemed politically correct.

In essence, Bowles argues that it suited both the formerly colonised and those who, broadly speaking, come from the left of the political spectrum, to characterise the imperial era as entirely racist, exploitative and destructive.

The facts, he argues, do not support this simplistic and frequently self-serving notion and he proceeds to compile a formidable case to justify his position.

Continue reading "Back to the future – is the world lurching into a new colonialism?" »

Work ethic & reliability of Pacific island workers is commended

Seasonal worker information session at Applethorpe
Queensland Agriculture project manager Karen George with managers Melissa Denning (Timor-Leste), David Haro (PNG), George Tuti (Solomons) and Sakeo Talemaimaleya (Fiji) (Jonno Colfs)

STAFF REPORTER | Warwick Daily News (Queensland)

WARWICK - THE prospect of being able to hire a reliable seasonal workforce drew strong crowds to a seasonal worker program information session at Applethorpe.

International delegates from Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Fiji and Papua New Guinea plugged the value of their workers to growers and other stakeholders from Stanthorpe and beyond.

Growers heard testimonials from Thulimbah apple growers and Darling Downs vegetable growers about their experiences of hiring workers from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa.

The common thread was reliability, strong work ethic and a genuine desire to work - qualities all growers seek in their staff.

The international delegates represented four of the 10 participating countries in the federal government-funded seasonal worker program.

Continue reading "Work ethic & reliability of Pacific island workers is commended" »

Cash confusion – the K570 million windfall the PNG govt ignored

Paul FlanaganPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics | Edited

CANBERRA – Papua New Guinea is reported to have a cash crisis and this is having dire effect on both its economy and society.

A leaked central bank email in late February highlighted the difficulties in finding the cash to pay public servants. The response to the recent PNG earthquake has been hampered by a lack of cash for relief operation centres. Departments have been locked out of their offices due to non-payment of rents.

But in the context of this cash crisis, an extraordinary fact has emerged.

On 7 March the PNG government turned down K300 million in cash offered to it by the private sector. On 14 March – last Wednesday - it turned down another K270 million.

Continue reading "Cash confusion – the K570 million windfall the PNG govt ignored" »

Murderous politicians and their sins of omission


TUMBY BAY - It makes you wonder, does it not, about people who see other people’s ignorance or misfortunes as opportunities to exploit them and make money?

We tolerate this at a certain level even when the ethics have gone missing. Persuading people to buy things they don’t need or which are harmful to their health. Convincing them to take loans and credit cards they’ll never be able to pay off.

Those sorts of things are regarded as good business or clever marketing. Being convincing and persuasive enough to make a profit is regarded as a virtue by many people. In business, there’s often a very thin line between a salesman and a shyster.

It was the American journalist, Daniel Schorr, who famously said of sincerity that “if you can fake it, you've got it made”.

Continue reading "Murderous politicians and their sins of omission" »

Paga Hill fellowship may herald a PNG literary festival

Gudmundur Fridriksson
Gummi Fridriksson - a prominent supporter of the development of a modern literary culture in PNG


NOOSA - A year after the publication of ‘My Walk to Equality’, Papua New Guinea’s first-ever collection of essays, stories and poetry written entirely by women, the Paga Hill Development Company has awarded a writers’ fellowship to the book’s editor, Rashmii Bell.

The inaugural award was made to mark International Women’s Day by the company’s chief executive, Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson, a prominent supporter of PNG literature.

The six-month fellowship will enable Ms Bell to attend literary events in Australia and continue to engage with authors, readers and festival committees to promote PNG women writers, PNG literature and explore opportunities to stage a literary event in PNG later this year.

“The MWTE team is grateful for Paga Hill Development Company’s ongoing recognition and support for our voluntary literary project,” Ms Bell said.

Continue reading "Paga Hill fellowship may herald a PNG literary festival" »

The trials and tribulations of becoming an Australian citizen

Rose Kranz (2018)
Rose Kranz


MORISSET - Well it took a long time, and with changing and ever-stricter requirements it was something of a tribulation, but Rose has had her Australian citizenship application approved. Thank you, Minister Dutton.

It started when we were married in the Port Moresby Botanical Gardens. I wanted to take Rose to visit Australia, and the tourist visas were then processed at the Australian High Commission in Waigani. That was the easiest step - getting her a tourist visa.

Then things got more complicated when we moved to Australia. The three-month tourist visas had to be renewed but you had to leave the country. So she enjoyed trips to Bali, Singapore, Vanuatu and back to PNG. It almost bankrupted us. But then someone helpfully said you can apply when in Australia!

Then came the ‘spouse visa’.  More checks and reports, but it was granted. Then came “permanent residency.” This involved an AIDS test, chest x-rays for TB and more police clearances. Someone then said, “why don’t you apply for citizenship?”

Continue reading "The trials and tribulations of becoming an Australian citizen" »

PNG Attitude

Wardley Barry 2WARDLEY BARRY

Dedicated to Dr Unia Kaise Api BA MA, Lecturer, School of Theology, Pacific Adventist University

You can find a glossary of Tok Pisin words and phrases at the end of the poem

I’m from Papua Niugini.

If you cut me open, and shake out my insides
no Weet-Bix, Bubble Gum or Shakespeare
will tumble out.
Dissect and break down my cells
into tiny microscopic bits
and you will find totongor, buai and tumbuna singsing
dangling on the strings of my DNA.

I care no more about time
than my bubu did the theory of relativity.
I clock in at 9:30
and sign out for a two-hour lunch at 11:30.
Then I complained to the masta
for not giving me enough time
and cutting my pay.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude" »

True leadership needed to stop the trashing of PNG

The despoilation of Collingwood BayLINDSAY BOND

BRISBANE – Just a few days ago, an important tweet appeared in my Twitter timeline from Governor Gary Juffa of Oro Province in Papua New Guinea.

"Today completed inspection of ongoing operations at Collingwood, Oro Province,” the tweet read. “All equipment and logs impounded. Illegal logging operations stopped. Addressed community to inform them of actions taken on their behalf including engagement of lawyer to commence civil proceedings."

These were Governor Juffa’s words and they were said after his decisive actions. A leader by tradition is one who goes ahead into the fray, giving full measure to being the first and being seen to do that by his followers.

Governor Juffa also tweeted: "It is very worrying that PNG Forest Authority are now so silent and not acting against illegal loggers in Oro. This is totally hypocritical of the govts claim that it is taking stringent steps against illegal logging."

Continue reading "True leadership needed to stop the trashing of PNG" »

Dear Ms Ardern: Raise W Papua human rights crimes with Jokowi

Yanto Awerkion
Yanto Awerkion, a young Papuan activist who was jailed for 'treason' for promoting a petition

STAFF REPORTER | Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - Advocacy group West Papua Action Auckland has urged New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern to raise human rights and the “suffering of the people” of Indonesian-ruled West Papua when she meets with President Widodo tomorrow.

President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo, the leader of the largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is in New Zealand for a two-day visit.

The West Papua action group released a statement by spokeswoman Maire Leadbeater.


OUR Melanesian neighbours in West Papua are suffering grievously and must not be overlooked for the sake of “good relations” or markets for our goods.

Continue reading "Dear Ms Ardern: Raise W Papua human rights crimes with Jokowi" »

Australia’s ‘numb amorality’ is allowing Papua New Guinea to fail

Turnbull & O'Neill
Malcolm Turnbull & Peter O'Neill - a handshake & two smirks not enough to prevent a mean & self-interested foreign policy sell-out

EDITORIAL | The Saturday Paper | Extract

MELBOURNE - Here is a headline from November 2015: “Australian tax dollars funding PNG corruption, AFP whistleblower says”.

And from the same month: “Turnbull government accused of ignoring PNG human rights abuses to preserve Manus Island detention centre deal”.

Here is a headline from June 2015: “Bishop calls for calm after PNG deaths”.

And again: “Australia offers PNG government help to prevent unrest after police shooting of student protesters”.

Here is Australia’s crude foreign policy, by turns cheap and buccaneering.

Julie Bishop’s response to police violence in Port Moresby ignored the systemic corruption in Papua New Guinea. It continued a blindness that stumbles, grasping and inept, back to the detention centre on Manus Island. It is the perfect expression of Australia’s stunted place in the region.

Continue reading "Australia’s ‘numb amorality’ is allowing Papua New Guinea to fail" »

Morobe governor sacks officer involved in assault on journalist

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu (Scott Waide)
Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu - "I will not tolerate violence" (Scott Waide)

SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country / Pacific Media Watch

LAE - One month after the incident, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu has apologised for an assault on Lae-based Post-Courier journalist Frankiy Kapin.

Governor Saonu told the media that the staff member who assaulted Mr Kapin has been sacked and new staff have been appointed.

The governor received strong criticism after he delayed making a public statement to condemn the assault by staff member while the matter was in court.

This led to a month-long standoff between journalists and the governor’s office during which all media events by the Morobe provincial government were turned down.

“The staff member concerned has been terminated from his job as an administration officer as a result of the incident and for bringing the office of the Governor into disrepute,” he said.

“I am setting this precedent as a warning to all of my staff as well as staff within the Department of Morobe that I will not tolerate violence of any sort.”

Continue reading "Morobe governor sacks officer involved in assault on journalist" »

Peter, Peter


Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater
When will you share your pumpkin pie?
You’re such a selfish, shameless cheater,
It’s grease lightning how you lie

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater
One day you’ll swallow your own lies,
Those piles the papers put as leaders,
Then they’ll rot your intestines.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater
You broke our laws and called cops spies
You pulled the strings; you propped the Speaker
MPs flocked to you like flies

Continue reading "Peter, Peter" »

First PNG journalism PhD says 'government not present in Hela'

Dr Kevin Pamba
Dr Kevin Pamba

JEMIMAH SUKBAT | Loop PNG/Pacific Media Watch | Edited

MADANG - A staff member of Divine Word University, Dr Kevin Pamba, who has written for PNG Attitude (read one of his articles here) has become first Papua New Guinean journalist to be awarded a doctorate degree.

Dr Pamba’s thesis was on communicating with indigenous landowners around the LNG project in Hela Province, an area badly affected by the earthquake two weeks ago.

He said that among his research findings was that the government is "not present" in Hela, especially the Department of Petroleum and Energy.

In terms of communication with the landowners, getting the message across was barely working, he said.

Dr Pamba, from Ialibu in the Southern Highlands, completed his bachelors' degree in journalism at the University of Papua New Guinea.

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A modern society should care for its citizens. Is that us?

Michael Dom


PORT MORESBY -  Our poor situation will stay the way it is, leaders will never change and democracy will never flourish because, no matter how 'tough and resilient' people are, as citizens in the modern Independent State of Papua New Guinea, we have relinquished power over our political class.

We don't keep the bastards honest: instead we worship and adore them.

We don't hold Peter O'Neill personally responsible for this mess; instead we argue that others shouldn't blame him.

We don't understand that no matter what grand pursuits leaders take, if the very basic needs are not met at the village level, those grand pursuits are in vain.

We inadvertently agree that mothers can die in childbirth, children receive poor education and workers be screwed with low wages and high taxes, so long as our political leaders keep up a reasonable show, she'll be right mate.

Continue reading "A modern society should care for its citizens. Is that us?" »

Death of Chris Owen – esteemed maker of films about PNG

Chris Owen (Andrew Pike)
Chris Owen (Andrew Pike)

Chris Owen - the veteran filmmaker best known for his PNG documentaries - died this month. PROFESSOR DON NILES provided this citation at a Lifetime Achievement Award made to the film maker last year

CANBERRA - For his films on Papua New Guinea over more than three and a half decades, Chris Owen has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Visual Anthropology.

This took place at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) held recently in Washington, DC.

The Society for Visual Anthropology was founded in 1984 as a section of the AAA to promote the use of images for the description, analysis, communication, and interpretation of human behaviour.

Its Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals whose body of work is recognized for its exemplary impact on the field of anthropology. Chris is only the ninth person to receive such an honour.

Chris Owen’s award acknowledges his outstanding films on PNG traditional and contemporary culture. Ceremonies were held on 29 November and 1 December.

Continue reading "Death of Chris Owen – esteemed maker of films about PNG" »

Stop the misallocation of relief funds & fix things, prime minister

Sir Mekere Morauta
Sir Mekere Morauta


PORT MORESBY - It is time for prime minister Peter O’Neill to stop talking and start acting; to stop blaming others for the mess the nation is in, and to introduce an immediate program of reform and reconstruction.

I have been warning for many years that Mr O’Neill has squandered opportunities for future national development and prosperity, and now we can see the devastating consequences every day, including the response to the earthquake.

The inadequacy of the government’s relief effort is obvious. Even Mr O’Neill himself recognised that when he said he was disappointed with the ‘slow start’.

It would not surprise me if the reports about the National Disaster Committee being locked out of its office due to non-payment of rent are true. There’s a hole in the bucket, Mr O’Neill, which needs plugging as quickly as possible.

Stop blaming public servants, stop blaming other people. Take responsibility and most of all take action to plug the holes.

Continue reading "Stop the misallocation of relief funds & fix things, prime minister" »

Misinterpreting PNG: rhetoric, exaggeration & inequality

Dr Paige West
Dr Paige West - two decades listening to myths promulgated by visitors to PNG

JOSIE KRITTER | The Catalyst | Edited

COLORADO, USA - Papua New Guinea is often seen as one of the world’s last unexplored frontiers and stereotyped as tribal, underdeveloped, and primitive, says Dr Paige West, Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College in the USA.

Dr West has spent the last two decades working with the people of PNG and her goal is to shed light on a vibrant culture, the effects of decolonisation and their conservation efforts.

She said that Melanesian culture is widely misunderstood and tends to be seen through a Euro-American and Australian lens.

Dr West explained how much of the information filtering through to the world outside comes from “surfers, photographers, economists, and conservationists.” Over the years, she has interviewed and observed each group, along with the indigenous people, to capture a full understanding of where the misconceptions about the country come from.

Continue reading "Misinterpreting PNG: rhetoric, exaggeration & inequality" »

Natural disasters: have we not had enough lessons?

VolcanoKESSY SAWANG | The Papua New Guinea Woman

I send my heartfelt sympathies to our people of Hela, Southern Highlands, Enga and Western Provinces who have been affected by the earthquake and condolences to those who lost their loved ones.  May God comfort you through this ordeal

MADANG - At 3:44 am on Monday, 26 February 2018, the biggest earthquake Papua New Guinean has experienced, one of 7.5 magnitude, hit the Hela and Southern Highlands region.

So far over 100 people have lost their lives and the damage to public infrastructure, economic assets and the people’s land, villages and their way of life has been shattering.

This disaster came just a month after the Kadovar volcanic eruption in East Sepik that displaced over 700 people from their island.  In between, there was anthrax scare in Madang.

Continue reading "Natural disasters: have we not had enough lessons?" »

Our years of living dangerously are engulfing the nation

Mekere Morauta
Former Papua New Guinea prime minister, eminent economist and now MP for Port Moresby North-West, Sir Mekere Morauta


PORT MORESBY - For the last three years Papua New Guinea had been living dangerously, thanks to the actions of prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Now those dangers are engulfing the nation. The prime minister’s tardy response to the earthquake is an example.

The corruption, waste and mismanagement he has presided over in recent years has crippled Papua New Guinea’s finances and all but destroyed the economy.

Severe cash flow problems are getting worse by the day – last fortnight the government had to scrabble round looking for sufficient funds to pay public servants.

The foreign exchange crisis has not abated despite Mr O’Neill’s sweet-talk promises. More than 70% of company executives in a recent business survey cited the lack of forex as the major constraint to business.

Continue reading "Our years of living dangerously are engulfing the nation" »

Why use APEC to expose a staggering PNG to the world?

O'Neill on APEC
O'Neill: APEC delegates, observers & media "can leave PNG knowing they have visited a culturally rich, economically modernising, country"


TUMBY BAY - “We will provide a secure environment where leaders, ministers and delegates can advance APEC's policy agenda, and can leave Papua New Guinea knowing they have visited a culturally rich, economically modernising country.”

Thus says the Honourable Peter O'Neill CMG MP, prime minister of Papua New Guinea.

These words are emblazoned in bold letters over an imposing and studious image (right) of the man himself on the PNG APEC website, which you can visit here.

In a recent article I itemised some of the many problems Papua New Guinea currently faces.

It was a long list included an economy out of control, unmanageable government debt, uncontrolled resource exploitation, unfettered corruption, massive environmental degradation, failing infrastructure, and more.

Continue reading "Why use APEC to expose a staggering PNG to the world?" »

Counting the cost of a devastating earthquake – many uncertainties

Survivors devastated by the Hela - Southern Highlands earthquake (The National)
Survivors devastated by the Hela - Southern Highlands earthquake (The National)

PAUL BARKER as told to SHIRLEY MAULUDU | Asia Pacific Report

PORT MORESBY - At this stage, the outcome is still uncertain after the devastation and loss of life – now more than 100 – of Papua New Guinea’s Highlands earthquake.

Obviously the biggest concern remains the human impact of the earthquake – reaching the victims and providing emergency relief.

Many households and communities have no drinking water and food gardens have been destroyed.

There must be thorough mapping of the affected areas to ensure that no affected communities remain isolated or without support or relief where in need.

Also, all the landslides need to be checked, not only where they block roads, or have destroyed food gardens or houses, but also where they’ve blocked streams and rivers.

Continue reading "Counting the cost of a devastating earthquake – many uncertainties" »

The origins of the people of the Pacific’s gateway, Vanuatu

Ancient skeleton at the Teouma site on Efate (ANU)
Ancient skeleton at the Teouma site on Efate, Vanuatu (ANU)

NEWSROOM | Science Daily

CANBERRA - Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have helped put together the most comprehensive study ever conducted into the origins of people in Vanuatu - regarded as a geographic gateway from Asia to the Remote Pacific.

The new research, published across two separate research papers, uses a combination of DNA analyses of ancient skeletons and modern samples, as well as archaeological evidence, to put together a complete timeline of migration to the island nation.

The results confirm that Vanuatu's first people were of the Lapita culture and arrived 3,000 years ago from South East Asia, followed by Papuan arrivals from the island of New Britain, in the Bismarck Archipelago just to the east of New Guinea and part of the nation of Papua New Guinea.

Dr Stuart Bedford of the ANU School of Culture History and Language said this was the first time researchers had been able to look at a full sequence of DNA samples from the Vanuatu islands.

"We've been able to track a complete genetic timeline at regular intervals starting with the first inhabitants right through to modern times," Dr Bedford said.

Continue reading "The origins of the people of the Pacific’s gateway, Vanuatu" »

Lumai - the design label celebrating Papua New Guinean women

Lookbook image from Lumai’s debut collection (Julia Mage’au Gray)
Design from Lumai’s debut collection (Julia Mage’au Gray)


AUCKLAND - Designer Andrew (Dru) Douglas founded his contemporary womenwear label Lumai late last year and his debut collection reflects his Papua New Guinean heritage with modern Western influences.

Dru grew up in PNG before being selected for a scholarship to study information technology at Otago Polytechnic, a course he finished in 2005 before studying fashion design at Auckland University of Technology, completing his degree in 2014.

He sees his new label as a chance to create something special that is ethical, has cross-cultural appeal and allows him to give back to his community.

FashioNZ caught up with Dru to find out more about his brand, what inspires him and where he sees Lumai heading.

Continue reading "Lumai - the design label celebrating Papua New Guinean women" »

Shakes and superstition: Exxon faces highlands backlash

Destroyed highway
The main earthquakes & aftershocks have been disastrous for human life, infrastructure and industry in the highlands


You can read the full Reuters report here

SYDNEY/SINGAPORE - A deadly earthquake that struck ExxonMobil's $19 billion gas project in the mountains of Papua New Guinea is sparking a backlash against the US energy giant that could prove harder to fix than buried roads and broken pipes.

Some spooked locals blame Exxon and its project partners of causing, or at least magnifying, the 7.5 magnitude quake on 26 February and a series of intense aftershocks that continue to pound the impoverished and isolated region.

While firmly denied by Exxon and debunked by geologists, the accusations suggest that the project known as PNG LNG, one of the most successful liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments in the world, is sorely lacking goodwill from at least parts of the local population.

Continue reading "Shakes and superstition: Exxon faces highlands backlash" »