15 Sep 2005

Calls for more consultation over the Pacific Plan after scathing criticism from Sir Michael Somare

7:42 pm on 15 September 2005

There are renewed calls for more consultation over the Pacific Plan following scathing criticism of it by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael, says the Plan, which is aimed at greater regional co-operation, is a disguise for Australian intentions to control the region.

NGOs in the region say there has not been enough consultation and

New Zealand political scientist, Dr John Henderson, agrees.

He says to overcome the unease there has to be more discussion about the Plan's contents.

"I think, perhaps, the need is for further consultation on the Plan so that the concerns that some have - and Somare has spelt it out - that Australia is using the Pacific Plan as part of a wider plan for dominating the region, that the unease that has caused is met. I think the Plan has a much wider application than that."

Meanwhile the Forum's secretary general, Greg Urwin, says the Plan's implementation may take up to ten years and consultation will continue throughout this period.