PNG Prime Minister 'undeterred' by likely no confidence motion

1:42 pm on 23 May 2024
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape at the MSG meeting in Port Vila

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape at the MSG meeting in Port Vila Photo: RNZ Pacific / Kelvin Anthony

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape says his government "remains steadfast and undeterred" amid the threat of a vote of no confidence next week.

The opposition has indicated that it is likely to file a motion next week after unsuccessful attempts to do so in a brief parliamentary session in February.

Marape said despite the hype around the vote his administration is "undeterred".

"The title or position of prime minister is not my birthright, as I have said many times. If there's anyone else out there who is better than me, then they can take over. I'm only doing my part in the time that I am here," he said.

The prime minister said the government's numbers are secure as they prepare for the expected vote, with Pangu Pati retaining the backing of 59 members and his coalition supporters remain intact, while the opposition can muster 20 MPs at this point.

Marape welcomed any challenges from the opposition or other opposing parties outside of Parliament, emphasising their right to hold the government accountable as part of the democratic process and freedom of expression.

The opposition leader Douglas Tumurisea said they have been told by the Speaker that they can file the no confidence motion next Tuesday, 28 May, but he said they will bide their time to assess the political manoeuvring over the next few days.

He said in PNG politics anything can happen within 24 hours.

RNZ Pacific's PNG correspondent Scott Waide said the Political Parties Registry Office needs to be formally notified of any MPs who have resigned from their parties and switched allegiances, before they can vote on the motion.

Tumuriesa said the opposition's concerns include the controversial Gold Corporation Bill, the inability of the current government to tackle the lawlessness in the country and the runaway cost of living.

"We all know very well the FOREX (foreign exchange) issues facing the country. The hike of goods - a good example, three weeks ago a bag of Trukai rice was going at 45 kina. Currently it is going around 55, 56 kina and prices continue to rise and our people in Papua New Guinea have really struggled," he said.

He also raised the ongoing issues with fuel shortages and noted the impact on both domestic and international air travellers.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs