11 Aug 2011

New political party in PNG wants to change laws governing PNG resources

7:03 am on 11 August 2011

A new political party in Papua New Guinea wants to change the laws that govern control of the country's resources

The Customary Land Rights Holders Party, which formed earlier this year, has begun a membership drive and is looking to field up to 60 candidates in next year's election.

Lawyer Peter Donigi has been named the party's President.

The vice-President is Simon Ekanda, a landowner from Hides, a central hub in the major Liquified Natural Gas project underway across several provinces.

Mr Ekanda says many customary landowners in PNG oppose laws which give the state ownership of resources below six feet under the ground.

"It's a tribal ownership of our land. Therefore we use it, we leave it for the next generation. Our fathers used it, they left it for us. We're going to leave it for the next generation. This concept of... Western, called absolute ownership is what we're against. That's why we say it's going to be a Land Rights Holders Party."

Simon Ekanda.