The National –Friday, January 7, 2011
THREE influential party leaders in government yesterday described the opposition’s move for a possible motion of no-confidence as “irresponsible” and the work of a “desperate hunting pack” concerned with obtaining power than providing “credible alternative government”.
The comments came from Treasurer and Finance Minister and leader of People’s National Congress Peter O’Neill, governor of Southern Highlands and United Resources Party founder Anderson Agiru and former New Guinea Islands deputy Leader of National Alliance and National Planning and District Development Minister Paul Tiensten.
The leaders said, among other things, that:
*The Somare government stood as the most successful since independence, having grown the economy for eight straight years;
*The government had a comprehensive set of vision, mission statements and practical plans and programmes to achieve them;
*It had directed the biggest development budget of K4 billion at critical areas such as education, infrastructure and health; and
*The opposition had no alternate policies or plans and no demonstrated history of successful economic management.
O’Neill, Agiru and Tiensten said small coalition parties had closed ranks last year to withstand a sustained attack against the government from within when former deputy prime minister Sir Puka Temu led a walkout of the ruling National Alliance with his Southern bloc.
They said they would do the same again if a possible motion of no-confidence was entertained by the acting speaker.
The opposition, which had been agitating to make such a move this week, nominated deputy leader National Alliance (highlands) Don Pomb Polye as its candidate for the prime minister’s post.
Polye was thought to be a vulnerable candidate for the move following his sacking as deputy prime minister and works minister, which he had wanted to keep even if he lost the DPM.
Polye refused to comment yesterday when contacted, saying he would make his own statement today.
However, he only said Sir Puka had nominated him without prior consultation.
Sir Puka was singled out for personal attack yesterday by the leaders.
Agiru accused him of weak leadership and incompetence, saying: “Here is a man who is prepared to sell PNG.
“He thumped the table and wanted to change the laws of PNG to give 5% corporate tax away in the LNG project. That would have come to K20 billion lost to PNG.
“I will not gamble my political future on a man who did not have sound judgment when judgment was needed. Loss of K20 billion is incredible.
“There are credible leaders like Sir Mek (Mekere Morauta) and Sir Julius (Chan) in the opposition who should not be lied to by Sir Puka.”
Tiensten, who is also leader of government business, said: “This sitting on the 11th (on Tuesday) is to elect the governor-general. That is the only agenda. The government has no other agenda.
“The private business committee will have to decide whether it (motion of no-confidence) is a matter of national importance or of a parochial nature.”
O’Neill added: “We (PNC) are small but we are stable. We are not in the business of promoting instability. We will continue to maintain political stability in this government.”