PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has condemned opposition parties for developing reckless policies that could only set the country back, reverse development and undermine economic growth.
PM O’Neill made the comments following a week where the Opposition Leader had announced policies to end free education and universal healthcare, and reduce direct funding to districts and provinces.
He said the Opposition Leader also sought to politicise the Bougainville peace process by creating false hope and misinformation that can only serve to raise tensions.
“This is the most reckless opposition campaign to be seen in elections for a long time,” the Prime Minister said.
“The core opposition policies of ending free education, cutting universal healthcare and removing direct funding to districts and provinces would set our country backwards very quickly.
“These opposition policies would hurt families, will see people miss out on healthcare and have funding decisions taken away from the local level and returned to Waigani bureaucrats.
“How could anyone think that ending free education could be a good thing?
“In the five years of our Government we have placed more than an additional one million children in schools.
“To stop free education will see these children turned out onto the streets and the bright future they had been looking forward to suddenly taken away from them.
“Our Government considers Education to be a right for all Papua New Guineans, not just those with money.
“Under our Government, it does not matter if a family is rich or poor, urban or rural, we will make sure all of their children are able to attend school.”
The Prime Minister also condemned attempts by Don Polye to stir tensions on Bougainville as nothing short of low-politics by a desperate opposition.
“The Peace Process on Bougainville began two decades ago under a PNC-led Government, and over the past five years our Government has delivered more services and infrastructure than at any time since then.
“We are building roads, healthcare centres and schools for the people of Bougainville.
“I warn Don Polye not to try to undermine the Bougainville peace process for his own shameful politics.
“The people of Bougainville have been through too much pain and distress and need to have the space to rebuild their lives.”
The Prime Minister said the people of Papua New Guinea are too smart to be distracted by cheap political antics and policies that would ruin the economy.
“Our Government has proven that we can manage our economy during difficult times and deliver investment and development for our people.
“When the price of oil and gas hit new lows, and State revenue from this sector dropped by nearly 90 per cent, we readjusted the economy.
“We cut waste and reformed the public sector, while continuing to deliver core services and critical infrastructure.
“Our approach to economic management has been recognised by international observers.
“The Economist, a very well respected and independent news organisation, has offered its opinion on the economic management of our country in this term of Government.
“The Economist made the point that despite the global economic challenges that we faced, our Government has done well in moving our economy forward maintaining social harmony in the country.
“Our Government makes a commitment that we will not change our core policies, and as the global economic outlook improves, we will continue to broaden our economic base.
“We will continue to attract foreign investment, to create jobs and expand opportunities for businesses in Papua New Guinea.
“The political process in our country has matured and evolved, and people are no long fooled by cheap stunts and misinformation.
“The outcome of the election of the next Parliament of Papua New Guinea is in the hands of the men and women and communities of our Nation.
“I know they will choose wisely, and have every confidence that when they vote, they will look around their towns and villages and see the change that is taking place.
“The future of Papua New Guinea is bright, with enormous opportunity, and with the support of our people, a PNC-led Government will continue to deliver this positive change.”