O’Neill happy with team’s first 100 days

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday 10th November 2011

THE government has established stability in the political, social and economic sectors during its first 100 days in office (see 8-page liftout inside), Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
He admitted to teething problems where many ministers were new to the “protocols of decision making” and said he could have done without the riots at Popondetta, Kainantu and Lae but said the achievements far outweighed the challenges.
Reflecting on his first 100 days in office, which falls today, O’Neill said it had not been smooth-sailing though, adding that the Supreme Court reference had brought uncertainty and paralysed government.
However, he was confident the court decision on Dec 9 would be “in the best interest of the country and not individual leaders”.
Appearing relaxed yesterday in a candid interview with The National at Morauta Haus, the prime minister said he harboured no regrets about what happened in parliament on Aug 2.
O’Neill said government had become complacent and was governing for a few, and had to be removed.
He admitted he was part of a small group that plotted and eventually got rid of the government “when the government lost its way”.
O’Neill said the policies he had outlined since his government took office would remain his priorities.
They included free education, fighting corruption, addressing law and order, and rebuilding infrastructure.
He said the government was on its way to implementing these priorities.
In his first 100 days, he said his government had parked K300 million in the 2011 supplementary budget in a trust account to kick-start the free education policy next January; set up a task force that had arrested nine people while investigating corruption in government; successfully passed the first reading in parliament to enact a law for 22 reserved seats for women; directed the Works Department to come up with the best model to redevelop the Highlands Highway (and other highways); and got Canberra to agree to deploy Australian police personnel in PNG in a revamped enhanced cooperation programme.
“Time is not on our side. We have less than 10 months till the next general election.
“So, these are realistic goals and policies we have set out to achieve which we believe will impact positively on the lives of the majority of our people,” O’Neill said.
He said the next 100 days would be as challenging but his government was determined to ensure proper foundations were laid for improvement to service delivery, rebuilding of infrastructure and sound education and health services for all.