PM responds to resignation of MPs, governors

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he has been made aware of the resignation of People’s National Congress (PNC) Party members on Friday.

Speaking from Beijing, the Prime Minister said he respected the decisions made by each individual Member of Parliament.

Yesterday, five members of the ruling PNC Party resigned.

The five MPs to resign from PNC include Governors Sir Peter Ipatas (Enga), Philip Undialu (Hela), William Powi (Southern Highlands), and Open MPs Davis Steven (Esa’ala) and Manasseh Makiba (Komo-Margarima).

Sir Ipatas and Steven both return to join the People’s Party, which he said follows an understanding with O’Neill made after the 2012 National Election.

Undialu, Powi and Makiba resigned due to legacy issues of the PNG LNG Project, policy differences and the Papua LNG Project.

In response to the announcement, the Prime Minister said he respected their decision.

“However as a leader of the Party and a leader of the Government, I can assure our people that our party has a large number in Parliament, and that within a large group like that there are always movements in the party,” said O’Neill.

“In respect to the other members and governors who have resigned, it is their decision and they have to explain that to their own people. They were elected into Parliament under the mandate of PNC. PNC has supported them in more ways than one so that they can retain their positions and their role as Members of Parliament.

“We look forward to working closely with them over the next two years, and we will allow the people to make up their own decision when the elections come.”

The Prime Minister said he understood the difficulties in some of the decisions the Government has taken, and of course of the policy of Government which they disagree with. However, he said he is yet to see a policy proposal in writing or otherwise made to Government in the past eight years.

“I want to assure the people of Papua New Guinea that despite a little bit of movement on the floor of Parliament and in the Party, I can assure you that our Government is very stable in the sense that we’ve got quite a large number and I’m also aware that the opposition will make a big noise out of this.

“It is given that the Government will always lose numbers, and the opposition will always gain because of the differences a large grouping can make. And it is only fitting that we continue to deliver on the good key policies that we have,” the PM said.

“Our Government in the history of our country has delivered very visible projects and policies, both in infrastructure, both in health and education, both in developing the districts and provinces, and making sure that this builds a very solid economy, an economy that is going to create opportunities for our people well into the future.”

O’Neill added: “Our country has got a bright future, but only selfish and self-indulgent politics will continue to destroy and derail the development agenda that our country truly deserves.

“But all in all we are happy to work with these Members, despite our differences we will work for our people, and look forward to working with them over the next few years, before we face our people in 2022.”

(File picture)

Cedric Patjole