Nine more MPs quit PNG government

7:12 pm on 3 May 2019

Nine MPs, including ministers, have resigned from Papua New Guinea's government.

The press conference where the nine MPs announced their resignation.

The press conference where the nine MPs announced their resignation. Photo: PNG News

The Health Minister Sir Puka Temu, Defence Minister Solan Mirism and Forestry Minister Douglas Tomuriesa have announced their resignations from their portfolios.

They also resigned from the ruling People's National Congress Party (PNC).

Six other government MPs joined them in a news conference to announce their resignations from the party.

This follows resignations of eight other MPs from the PNC in the past week.

At a news conference this afternoon, Abau MP Sir Puka said they had decided to move because of internal disagreements over how the country was being managed.

The government's move last month to sign the Papua LNG Gas project agreement with French company Total was identified as a factor in the resignation of several MPs.

They said the agreement did not protect landowner interests, nor those of provincial administrations.

At today's news conference, concern was also voiced about the lack of a consultative approach by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill within cabinet.

EMTV reported Mr Mirisim, the Telefomin MP, urging other MPs to leave the coalition government.

He said that given what MPs had been witness to in government, they could not continue to pretend that PNG was OK.

During the PNC caucus meeting yesterday, Sir Puka called on Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to resign, Mr Mirisim said at the news conference.

Mr O'Neill's refusal led to the defections and resignations, he said.

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