12 Apr 2005

PNG provincial leader says overseas aid has weakened the country and it can do without it

8:26 pm on 12 April 2005

A prominent Papua New Guinea politician says overseas aid is weakening PNG and should be stopped.

Luther Wenge, the Governor of Morobe, Luther Wenge, says Papua New Guinea has become too dependent on its main aid donor, Australia, and links should be cut.

His comments come amid a diplomatic standoff after Australia rejected demands it apologise for subjecting PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, to a security check at Brisbane airport last month.

Mr Wenge says PNG is a resource rich country and it has people with the necessary skills, so Australian assistance such as the Enhanced Cooperation Programme are not needed.

"And we should develop this country and take the country forward and if it means sacrifice, well let's sacrifice and cart it forward. The best thing to do is cut ties now."