The National – Tuesday, June 21, 2011
By ZACHERY PER
THE newly formed PNG Constitutional Democratic Party believes one of the key measures in addressing the worsening political leadership performance is to physically relocate the functions of parliament and administration out of Port Moresby.
The party, led by former chief ombudsman commissioner Ila Geno, wants to relocate parliament and national administration to the Arona Valley, in Eastern Highlands, because it, “is the centre of PNG”.
In a meeting with landowner representatives from Arona valley, in Aiyura, last week, Geno said important functions of the country had to be coordinated from the centre of the country.
He said that would then allow greater accessibility and scrutiny by the people.
Geno said if given the mandate, his new party would do its best to relocate the national parliament and important government offices to the Arona valley.
Party secretary Tobias Kulang said: “Port Moresby is cut off from the rest of the country and is geographically and financially inaccessible by over 95% of the population.
“The isolation plays a role in leaders forgetting and losing sight of the plight and suffering of the people.
“Bringing leadership closer to the people will demand greater transparency and accountability.
“There are currently many reasons why the community and leadership at all levels need to take up these discussions,” he said.
“Port Moresby is overcrowded and it is struggling to meet the economic and business boom.”
He said all line national departments were scattered all over in Port Moresby in rented offices which cost taxpayers a lot each year.
“We need a model like Washington DC and Canberra, in Australia, where everything can be found in one place.
“Port Moresby serves the purposes of colonial administration but it is now evident that it is not serving the development needs of the people.
“We need a re-design of a capital city infrastructure that can cater for our needs 100 years from now,” Kulang said.
He said the proper distribution of key government and economic functions around the country would infuse life into the communities.
“Far too much money is spent in a few places in Port Moresby when the rest of the nation is dying and a need for separating commerce and politics is important to reduce corruption.”
Kulang said Arona valley, in Yonki, outside Kainantu town, “appears to be the centre of the country”.
“The Arona valley appears to have the climate and is geographically suited for such relocation.”
He said Arona Valley landowners had given the idea their overwhelming support.