24 Jul 2007

PNG opposition leader ready to change sides if rural development programme endorsed

6:54 am on 24 July 2007

Papua New Guinea previous opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, says his People's National Congress Party is willing to talk with all other parties prepared to endorse parts of their policy platform.

The National Alliance appears on course to again be the dominant party in the new government and its leader, Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has indicated he is talking with Mr O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill, who has just been re-elected, says PNG politics is dominated by coalitions and any link will depend on other parties accepting some of the Congress's views.

He says these would include their proposal for district authorities to be set up to deliver government services to the 85 percent of the population living in rural PNG.

"They have no evidence of any government presence in those communities. That is lack of medical care, lack of quality education in many areas - many of the kids miss out on going to school. There are real law and order issues in those areas."