10 Oct 2005

PNG deputy PM admits mistake in Governors' conference no-show

4:55 pm on 10 October 2005

Papua New Guinea's deputy Prime Minister denies that there is discord between central and provincial governments.

Sir Moi Avei has admitted making a mistake by not attending the National Governors' conference in Daru last Thursday.

The absence of Sir Moi Avei, senior government ministers and top bureaucrats has angered governors who subsequently moved that the meeting be deferred.

Milne Bay Governor Tim Neville says the "no-show" reflects the national government's contempt for provincial governments.

But Sir Moi, who says a bout of malaria upset his plans to attend, dismisses suggestions there is a gulf between central government and its provincial partners.

"I don't see that there's a gap but it's very clear that both levels of government must work together in the interests of national development. I've always been very clear that this conference is a very important forum."

Sir Moi Avei says the Governors' conference will be rescheduled.