Population surge to prompt review of PNG electoral boundaries

9:24 am on 12 February 2020

Papua New Guinea's rapid population growth warrants a review of electoral boundaries, the prime minister says.

James Marape was responding to a question in Parliament about rapid surges in population across some PNG electorates.

Mr Marape was asked whether his government planned to review electoral boundaries now that PNG's population has passed eight million.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Melvin Levongo

He said the population in some electorates had swelled significantly more than others.

Our population alone warrants a re-look at the electoral boundaries. Let me affirm that the Electoral Boundaries Commission has now been set up. we will go through the due process in commissioning the members of the commission."

"We will start the process at the very earliest by mid-this year, [when] we should know exactly what form and shape the conversations have started."

Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape.

Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape. Photo: PNG PM Media Unit

Mr Marape said the national census due this year would help government gain better understanding of PNG's population distribution.

"You have cases where some electorates you've got almost two-hundred-thousand people being represented by one member of Parliament. In smoe cases you have only 30 or 40,000 people being represented by one member of Parliament."

"There's a huge disparity of representation in our parliament, and that needs to be brought into fair scrutiny," he said.

While PNG's Parliament has 111 electorates, the constitution allows for up to 120. If the commission decided that more than 120 electorates were needed then it would require parliament to amend the constitution.

In 2011, when the last national census was held, PNG's population was registered as having passed seven million. By 2017, it was estimated at 8.25 million and could be approaching nine million this year.