12 Feb 2005

NZ urged to act on Bougainville community policing pay

8:40 am on 12 February 2005

The administrator on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville is urging the New Zealand Government to act swiftly to pay community police, based at Buin.

Community police in South Bougainville haven't been paid for weeks, if not months, as a stand-off continues over a roadblock at Aropa.

The police are paid by the New Zealand Government through New Zealand Police who are responsible, under PNG direction, for community policing on Bougainville.

Police won't go through the roadblock, and are reluctant to access Buin by other means.

Helicopters could be used, but have bad associations in the minds of many Bougainvilleans who remember helicopter gunships during the civil war.

The Bougainville Administrator, Peter Tsiamalili, says non-payment is causing hardship and poor morale.

"I have not been formally advised by the New Zealand Police here, except through the ACP, which is the normal channel but I think this is totally unnecessary for such a decision to be made and for the community police not to be paid. So I hope this can be rectified as soon as possible."