NA remains with govt: Pruaitch

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The National, Thursday July 21st, 2016

THE National Alliance party has reaffirmed its position to remain with the Government.
Party leader and Minister for Treasury Patrick Pruaitch said it had internal discussions since late last year on whether the party should remain in Government.
He said despite some dissenting views, the party caucus each time unanimously agreed to remain a member of the ruling coalition.
“I have made it clear that as the leader of the National Alliance, I would willingly move to the Opposition if that was the majority view of the party and Prime Minister (Peter) O’Neill is well aware of this,” Pruaitch said in a statement.
“It is personally insulting that members of the Opposition are deeming the attendance of members of parliament here in Alotau (Milne Bay) to be the result of bribery or that MPs are being ‘kept in captivity’.
“In times like this, it has been a PNG political tradition that such camps are organised so there can be full and frank discussions – in our case on government strategies and policies, not forgetting that the Alotau Accord was signed here in 2012.”
Pruaitch said NA would comply with the court ruling and will exercise its democratic right in parliament tomorrow.
He said NA remained within the coalition because it was able to play a constructive role. “It is no secret that government revenues have been constrained in recent years,” Pruaitch said.
“Despite the reduced revenues, the Government has managed to maintain the core policies of tuition-free education and in making significant improvements to health services.
“In exactly a year’s time, a national election will be held. If there is genuine dissatisfaction, many political parties could pay a price. Until then the Government and people of PNG need to manage national affairs in the best way possible through implementation of rational policies and programmes.
“A change of government at this time will create a great deal of political instability, cause most Government programmes to slow down or come to a halt and not augur well for the future.
“The National Alliance party continues to support Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the ruling coalition Government because it is determined to preserve development gains made over the past decade and to prepare for the surge forward that the next government will have the good fortune to manage.”