THE PEOPLE of Papua New Guinea should be up in arms about the government's 2017 budget.
As a taxpayer I am absolutely furious. As a mortgagee I am totally petrified and mortified.
This is a direct insult to my family and every other hard-working and honest Papua New Guinean. The government does not seem to know or recognise the many challenges and struggles that my family and I went through just to secure a home for our future.
Furthermore, it does not to seem to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the day to day struggle that average working class Papua New Guineans like myself have to contend with just to keep our heads above the water.
Yet now it sees fit to impose a tax regime that will affect my ability to maintain my loan repayments and which puts my family's future at risk.
Since I have been employed I have not benefited from a large pay increase or additional perks and privileges like the politicians award themselves.
There is no word that can describe what I am feeling right now as I look towards the new year.
I have come to the conclusion that the current government under prime minister Peter O' Neill has failed the people of this country terribly.
To go into an election with a budget that will further push many Papua New Guineans below the poverty line is disgraceful.
If there is such a thing as karma, at the next general election in May this government should be turned out after a disgraceful record of mismanaging the economy and jeopardising the future of eight million Papua New Guineans.
At this week’s mining conference in Sydney, Peter O’Neill stabbed the people of PNG in the heart by denying their inalienable rights as landowners who deserve a fair return from the resources extracted from their land. As a resource owner I view the current mining law as repressive and as promoting foreign interests. That's what is called irresponsible government.
In a responsible and mature democracy, such a government should be automatically annihilated at the polls. In PNG I am skeptical that will be the case.
That said, though, we have removed bad governments at elections in the past, so there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
However the question now is whether this can this be done to the current government?
I feel that another term for this government will truly bring this country to chaos.
This is a government that is concerned only about its image and not the well-being of the masses of the people.
The government's free education and free health care policies are at the brink of disaster because, in most schools, teachers don't turn up to teach our kids and medicines are running out in most clinics and hospitals.
There is no guarantee in this faltering economy that we will get medical supplies in time to save lives. In most cases, students go through a year learning little while most clinics and hospitals are referring patients to pharmacies to acquire medicines. Most people do not have the money.
One way or another we have all been victims of short-sighted policies. It is not what's in the budget with billions of kina earmarked for many things but what is happening on the ground that is the ultimate test of its policies.
Big events are hosted in Port Moresby where a large pool of public funds is spent on questionable contracts. Where is the benefit to Papua New Guinea?
Amidst these glowing developments, urban poverty is real problem. Many of our people are unemployed and underemployed. If they venture into self-employment in the informal economy, they have to make ends meet in harsh conditions.
For those who are formally employed and paying taxes, the cost of living is showing no sign of easing. Even when we seek shelter in the settlements to counter the housing crisis gripping the city, the government watches while we are evicted and scattered into homelessness with no hope in sight.
I have never voted in a general election before. I have never fully trusted our electoral process which I am afraid it has gone from bad to worse.
I view the electoral system as broken and have felt that my one vote does not mean anything.
Regardless, I am now determined to make a statement that this government needs to go. It has been weighed, measured and found wanting. In the 2017 general election I am voting for change and I hope it will make a real difference. You should feel welcome to do likewise.