In a letter to the Provincial Administrator, Ling Stuckey said he granted the budget conditional approval, and named two conditions that need to be satisfied before full approval is granted.
The conditions are that the provincial development plan 2017-2022 and acquittals on all Lihir royalty funds from 2007 to 2020 must accompany the budget submission.
Stuckey also said in the letter that the funds for the months of January, February, March and April only will be released and the balance of the funds will be frozen until the conditions are met.
This was met with protest from the Governor’s office, calling it sabotage of service delivery and calling on Ling Stuckey to put his petty politics aside and put the lives of his fellow New Irelanders first.
Chairperson assisting the Governor on Finance, Misbil Nelson, described the conditions as utter nonsense and another excuse to delay the full delivery of the New Ireland 2021 Budget.
“Stuckey’s conditions are irrelevant and he has no right to make such demands. New Ireland does have a development plan and that is clearly captured in the Corporate plan which the Treasurer refuses to recognize for his ego’s sake.”
Nelson went on to say, “As for the acquittal on the Lihir Royalties he once again simply lies and says that the New Ireland Government has not acquitted the use of the Lihir Royalties for 14 years. This has been done over and over again. Every toea of the royalties is accounted for in each annual Provincial Budget. In addition, Sir J has repeatedly provided reports that tell exactly where the royalties have gone.”