PNG election fee hike plan to face another hurdle

7:16 am on 9 March 2017

A plan by the Papua New Guinea Government to raise the candidate nomination fee before this year's elections could face another hurdle.

The fee hike, from PNGK$1,000 to PNGK$10,000 or around US$3,000, is due to be debated in parliament at the end of the month.

The Supreme Court recently refused an application by the Ombudsman Commission to prevent parliament from deliberating on the proposed increase

It's expected that the Peter O'Neill-led government will use its numbers to approve the fee hike.

However, an intending candidate, Bryan Kramer said that as soon as parliament does this, it would be challenged.

"Any law that is passed, constitutional law, any person - within forty days of it being gazette certified - they can also file an application to challenge it."

"So I will, as an individual, plus a number of other candidates. Especially there are a number of other candidates that plan to contest but obviously, they'll be aggrieved by this ten-thousand kina nomination fee," he said.

The Government needs two-thirds majority (75 MPs) to pass the constitutional amendment at the last session of Parliament starting on March 28, before the National Election, due to begin in late June.

Mr O'Neill said the proposed amendments would strengthen democratic process to enable true contenders to stand for elections, and would help prevent the malicious use of the court system after elections.

Critics of the proposed fee hikes argued that the government is broke and looking to pass the buck for the funding of the election; and that the fee rise disenfranchises those not currently in power.

The government is also planning to raise the election petition fee four-fold to PNGK$20,000 or US$6,000.

Papua New Guinea's parliament.

Papua New Guinea's parliament. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades