Report by Gorethy Kenneth, Post Courier May 2nd, 2017
The ruling People’s National Congress Party officially launched its 2017 national election campaign yesterday with 93 candidates throughout the country.
It was launched by leader and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the plush Crowne Plaza in Port Moresby, witnessed by his majority 55 sitting MPs and ministers, who all vowed to defend their seats, come back and form the next government.
Mr O’Neill not only commented on PNC’s election program, but gave an address to the nation reiterating the firm policy actions his government had implemented over the past five years.
He said his government had ensured there was political and governance stability, which allowed the country to progress development unhindered. Mr O’Neill said high on the implemented list were education, health and infrastructure development, with nearly all provinces experiencing changes in all sectors. He specifically mentioned a healthy economy which experienced growth during the tenure of his government despite overwhelming odds with the global downturn in commodity prices.
“Papua New Guinea is one of the greatest democracies in the world, a vibrant democracy, unique,” he said.
“The stability that we have enjoyed over the last five years, we will continue to maintain that when we form government in two months time,” he added”.
“The next Parliament is expected to build on the foundations that we have built over the last five years. These are the foundations that have been neglected over the years. We are asking the people to see the gains that our government has achieved over the last five years,” he said. Mr O’Neill also previewed the new policy initiatives for the next five years, should PNC return to power. “Staying strong together, yes we are,” he said. PNC can assure the people of PNG that we are on top of many of these challenges that we face in this nation,” Mr O’Neill said.
He also said the government was developing a generous pension system for service personnel, but it will be tied into discipline. “We will not tolerate bad discipline among our uniformed personnel. We have implemented a one-strike and you are out policy. “As we near the end of the parliamentary term, it is timely that we look back on the past five years. It is good to look back and review what we promised the nation in all of our core policy areas when we came into office in 2012.
“I would also like to give you an overview of our plans for the next five years of government. Should it be that the voters of the nation judge us favourably of course. “Our government came to office with some very clear and straight forward promises. “First and foremost, we promised that we would get children into schools so that we can create an educated nation.
“We promised to expand universal healthcare around our nation. We said we would stabilise law and order in the country. We promised to repair rundown national infrastructure that had been so badly lacking. “And we said we would devolve power and decisions, and services, from Waigani to the districts and provinces of our country. Looking back on the past five years how have we done? “Education, improving education in Papua New Guinea has been one of the most important areas for our Government. “Health, when it comes to healthcare we have advanced a policy that is changing lives, Mr O’Neill said.