Disaffection with PM growing among MPs, says PNG opposition

10:41 am on 19 December 2018

A Papua New Guinea opposition MP says the tide is turning against prime minister Peter O'Neill within government ranks.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on the election campaign trail in Chimbu Province.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on the election campaign trail in Chimbu Province. Photo: PMO Media

Opposition MPs are looking to table a motion of no-confidence against Mr O'Neill when a grace period on such motions ends in February.

Sinasina-Yonggamugl MP Kerenga Kua said every party in the coalition government had been in talks with the opposition.

He said compared to the 2016 motion of no-confidence, which Mr O'Neill defeated, there's now a groundswell against the prime minister.

Mr Kua said growing disaffection among MPs with the current leadership reflected a feeling throughout the country.

"Citizens have become completely fed up with the lack of proper government, lack of transparent decision-making process, and finally the lack of accountability. Major crimes are going unpunished because those crimes are committed by those people who prop up O'Neill as the prime minister."

But government MPs spoken to by RNZ Pacific say they remain committed to the Alotau Agreement which underpinned the formation of Mr O'Neill's government following last year's election.

Government MPs say that Mr O'Neill has steered the country through difficult times, such as an economic slump caused by external factors, and that the country was well placed for the long term.

The Mendi MP and Works Minister Michael Nali said he remained loyal because Mr O'Neill was leading the country well.

"O'Neill is my brother. The prime minister and I come from the same province. We come from a society where relationships - province-wise, district-wise, village-wise - mean we're always together," Mr Nali explained.

"So whoever is challenging the prime minister will be challenging me. So I'm committed to the prime minister."


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