MY POSITION on the current political situation is very simple, and very firm. I stand for the good of the nation. I stand for the good of my province. And above all; I stand for the good of the people.
I support good government. I support the opposition. I support the people. I ask all other members of parliament to do the same.
For the last few years, I have seen governments mad for power, spending their money buying support but forgetting the needs of the people.
The Constitution says, “All power belongs to the people.” It says “our national wealth, won by honest, hard work, shall be shared equitably by all.”
We must never betray the Constitution or crave for power. Whether the government or the opposition wins this filthy battle, we must see change.
The words of our leaders cannot be trusted. In 2009, Vision 2050 was launched with great promises - “By 2050 PNG will be in the top 50 countries of the world in the UN Human Development Index.”
But just seven years later PNG has dropped from 145th in the world to 158th, from the medium human development category to the low human development category. We are on the same level with basket cases like Rwanda and Burkina Faso.
The national government never keeps its promises. Just look at New Ireland. In the 1995 Lihir memorandum of agreement, the government promised a Kavieng international airport, a Kavieng international wharf and a fully sealed Boluminski Highway.
They promised Namatanai Power, Namatanai Water, Kavieng Power, Kavieng Water and 18 other projects. In 20 years not one was delivered. Not one!
The entire nation was promised tuition fee free education, but the money is always too little, too late. Education in PNG is in chaos.
We were promised free primary and subsidised secondary health care. Where is it? Government cannot even pay the DSIP and PSIP on time. Districts and provinces have no funds for services and infrastructure.
Meanwhile our resources continue to be stolen, enriching foreign companies, filling the pockets of politicians, but bleeding the people.
Our royalties are among the lowest in the world. Billions of kina flow out, but only liklik toea comes back to the province, to the people.
And look at our forests. A 2013 commission of inquiry on special agriculture and business leases (SABLs) reported fraudulent contracts to companies who clear-felled our forests, undercounted and underpriced the logs to avoid tax, and never developed a single agricultural project.
The commission of inquiry recommended most SABLs be revoked. Cabinet agreed in 2014. The prime minister then said the revocations would be done. What has happened since? Nothing!
This is how our country is run. The national government simply lies to the people and spends their money. The bureaucracy sucks up money but has no idea what is happening on the ground.
Meanwhile in the provinces we try our best. In New Ireland we have spent hundreds of millions on services and infrastructure the State promised but failed to provide. Other provinces have done the same.
So you ask what is my position? My position is clear.
I support honest government, not one for sale to the highest bidder.
I want to give the people a fair share of the wealth from their ground. Increase royalties, special support grants, tax credits and other benefits.
The mining provinces will share the wealth with the entire country. We only ask that when our minerals are gone that other provinces share with us.
I want to give provinces freedom to take care of themselves once they show the capacity to do so. We have shown that capacity in New Ireland, as have others. Let us plot our own course.
I want to say one more thing. If the government wins, the prime minister should step aside. Act with honour. Think of the country, not personal power.
If the opposition wins, I say this. Do not cast aside all those across the aisle. Instead, declare formation of a government of national unity, a government of national honour.
Bring the best people from both sides. Commit yourself to truly open, transparent government. And take real steps to keep those promises worth keeping made by past governments.
I ask all those who give a damn about our country to join me in these demands, whether you be in government or opposition.
So let us join together for change. It is time for us all to become Papua New Guineans once again.