Bougainville regional member in PNG to resign and contest presidency

12:23 pm on 20 May 2020

The current regional member for Bougainville in the Papua New Guinea Parliament, Joe Lera, is resigning so he can contest the Bougainville presidency.

Bougainville is set to go elections in August with the writs to be issued in the middle of June.

Mr Lera said after nine years in the national parliament he had a lot to offer Bougainville.

Joe Lera

Joe Lera Photo: Bougainville Care Foundation

He said the first thing the government had to do was modernise the roles for its public servants, with the aim of helping the people achieve sustainable independence.

"Because at the moment we are still using outdated colonial policies which are narrow. They don't solve today's Bougainville issues." he said.

Mr Lera said Bougainvilleans were not the same as they were in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

"People have access to mobile phones and there are new issues like drugs, sea piracy."

Mr Lera also spoke of the need for an integrated plan for economic development.

"I would shift the focus from foreign investment to sustainable development in agriculture, fishing, tourism - the side that would connect with the people."

He claimed over the years previous governments had made the people poor.

"So we need to develop the sustainable development side of the economy, like in the Asian countries. We have to look after the people first."

Mr Lera, who will get to fly back to Bougainville this Friday after being locked down in Port Moresby for eight weeks, said he planned to resign from the PNG parliament on 17 June.