12 Jan 2012

Amid PNG power tussle, NZ dealing with O'Neill administration

2:32 pm on 12 January 2012

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says for practical purposes, Wellington is dealing in Papua New Guinea with the administration of Peter O'Neill.

PNG has slipped into a protracted crisis with the O'Neill-led government holding key positions in the face of Sir Michael Somare claiming to be the legitimate prime minister based on last December's supreme court ruling.

As the power struggle is still the subject of a legal wrangle, Mr McCully says official interaction continues.

"We are dealing with whoever wants to deal with us but I think the fact is that prime minister O'Neill and his ministers seem to have, in a practical sense, their hands on the levers and I understand that's the interface that exists for our mission in Port Moresby."

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully