Monday, 26 March 2007


(as at 26th March 2007, as we get to hear of them)

Provincial seat

Charles Lepani

There is some doubt as to whether Mr. Lepani is in or out of the elections for the provincial seat. We have heard both. But on the understanding he maybe in, we can say Charles Lepani has spent most of his working life outside Milne Bay.

He is a corporate-career person.

He would have the ability and experience to be a governor.

He is linked with the old-style Pangu grouping, the bully-beef club etc.

His last posting was as PNG High Commissioner in Canberra.

He does not have a reputation for bringing development to Milne Bay.

He is from densely populated Kiriwina. He is at the end of his working-life.

Iairo Lasaro

Mr. Lasaro is/was thought to be with the New Generation Party. He is an ex-governor, and old style politician.

There is some debate about whether he will run in the provincial or Alotau Open seats.

But Charlie Abel is said to be the New Party candidate in the Alotau Open, and Napolean Loisi is the New Generation Party endorsed candidate for the Milne Bay Provincial seat.

On the other hand, a recent press statement said Mr. Lasaro had been invited to join the Rural development Party.

He is at the end of his working-life. But older customary candidates may well do well if the electorate shows disillusionment with modern management.

John Luke Critten

John Luke is a wealthy businessman; he is the major shareholder in the Nako fisheries group. He is a politician of the old school, linked with the political scene in Port Moresby. He is a sound-businessman, who has the experience, and intellectual ability to be a governor.

There is no doubt, he has contributed to the economic development of Milne Bay.

His particular geographic strength would be in the Samarai Murua Electorate, where he has done business and brought development.

There is some talk he does not enjoy the best of health.

It is also rumoured his running will split the vote of Titus Philemon, and give preferences to Tim Neville.

Nevertheless he is a strong contender, if he were to campaign in all parts of the province. But he is not an energetic campaigner, and may suffer because of that.

He is from Switzerland. He is at the end of his working-life.

He failed at the last election.

Leah Sharp

A strong new contender.

Modern, progressive woman, lawyer, from Molima.

Part of the Sharp, Star Shipping family. Her family built their business in East New Britain, but they have now moved some assets back into Milne Bay.

The Star Shipping contribution to Milne Bay marine transport infrastructure and development has under-written progress in the province for the last five years.

This candidate is focussed on women, youth and business. Perceived political wisdom is that women are no more capable of organising on gender lines than men, and the women's vote will not happen.

Very competitive, and could set the tone of the campaign.

Napoleon Liosi

The New Generation Party candidate.

Former General-Secretary of the Public Employees Association.

Spent most of his working-life in Port Moresby. Old style conservative unionist.

Not known for any particular contribution to Milne Bay development.

No private sector or commercial experience. He is at the end of his working life.

No obvious reason why he could defeat some of the stronger candidates he faces, unless the issues politics of the New Generation Party can defeat the government National Alliance pork-barrel.

Tim Neville:

PNG Resources Party. Family has timber industry connections. Mr. Neville is known to oppose export logging in Milne Bay, and was strongly anti-corruption in 2002 at the time of forming the government. He is pro- oil palm expansion. He vigorously opposed Conservation International after it was revealed by consultants the Milne Bay Marine Conservation Project wasted $US 800,000.

Mr. Neville now has 10 years experience as the Governor of Milne Bay.

He is in a strong position.

In addition, Milne Bay looks a lot better than most other provinces and that happened on Tim Neville's watch.

But Governor Neville's re-election chances are now not so strong, because there is disillusionment in the rural areas that he has failed to deliver development.

Because of Mr. Neville's stand on corruption, and because he fell-out with Somare, Moresby cut-off Milne Bay project funding.

There are some powerful candidates beginning to show their hand.

Mr. Neville has support from business, because of the fear of the unknown nature of alternative candidates, and their likely preference for old-style politics and pork-barrelling.

He is not strong in the Samarai-Murua electorate, and Titus Philemon, who is strong there, is running against him.

Opinion in the Esa'ala Electorate is that he has not delivered there too.

He is strong in Kiriwina, but Charles Lepani from the Trobriands Islands, could pose a threat to Mr. Neville, if Mr. Lepani tries to run, in the provincial seat.

But Goodenough Island has not benefited from development over the past 5 years, and is still a development "disaster".

The new North Coast Road could deliver Alotau Open, but the in-land Rabarabas may not be convinced.

A lot may ride on the preferences.

The Governor does not appear to be cashed-up, his record for delivering development has yet to be fully seen, but he may roll-out some convincing projects before June

He is an inconsistent communicator.

But it is not the urban-based chattering e-classes he has to convince. It is the rural-electorate.

He was brought-up in Papua New Guinea, has panache, and he knows his way around.

A strong competitor who could win, if he delivers sufficiently before the elections.

Titus Philemon

He belongs to the Peoples' Progress Party.

Former Vice Minister for Forests. Pro-logger.

Former governor, voted in after Josephine Abaijah lost a vote of no confidence in the Provincial Assembly.

He would be the main beneficiary from the rural dissatisfaction arising from the lack of development. And this view places him as a strong candidate.

He landed the Austaid funded Gurney-Alotau, East Cape Road project and the bridges projects that put in essential infrastructure while he was a governor.

Old-style politician, who probably does not have the skills to thoroughly modernise Milne Bay.

A professional politician, with no personal wealth or business.

Lots of political experience, but he has been in the wilderness for 5 years, so is that enough in 2007?

Dr. Westin Seta.

A press statement said he had been invited to join the Rural Development Party.

Former Medical Superintendent Alotau Hospital.

Member of the Christian Life Church.

Towards the end of his professional life.

No previous political experience.

Alotau Open

Alan Baniyamani

a lawyer from Goili. He has spent most of his time outside Milne Bay. A virtually unknown candidate on a packed race-card.

Charles Abel

Kwato mission Abel-family antecedents.

Good electoral brand, although some talk of customary enmity and back-biting undermining that image.

Accountant businessman modern, successful.

Rumours he is the New Generation Party candidate, but not confirmed. He will set the tone of this contest.

He is focusing on youth networks and as the demographic show 50% of the population under 18, with the 18 to 30 percentile being critical, this is important. Very competitive.

But a lot will depend on the preferences as gender could be important, if the women's vote remains reasonably solid.

Clive Rumulus

ex- deputy governor in the Titus Philemon government. A PPP candidate. Old-style politician. A strong contender in the context of the failure of modernism.

Diana Halstead

Cairns-based businesswomen from Aihioma. Her family owns and operates a dive-boat business in Cairns that tours into Milne Bay. She has been walking around the electorate for two months or so.

She enjoys the support of women leaders. But will women vote as a block? Will other women candidates split the vote, and a man walk through the gap? Perceived political wisdom is that women are no more capable of organising on gender lines than men, and the women's vote will not happen.

Donald Newaget

ex High school teacher. He has tried twice before, as a candidate, and lost. Now said to be aligned with Homare Yawari, Governor of the Southern Highlands in an attempt to put together a new party.

Douglas Tomarise

A Port Moresby-based National Alliance candidate. NA is due in Alotau about the 17th of April to unveil their candidates.

NA is cashed-up, but that may not be enough against other strong candidates. On the otherhand, he could benefit from the pure power of of NA money and the LPV system. A lot will depend on how NA deals in preferences, particularly with the women vote.

Gerald Lage

a landowner from Sagarai who has run unsuccessfully, before.

No obvious reason why he should attract votes outside his own area.

Goine Loko

wife of David Loko, recently appointed CEO of Telikom, daughter of Margo Doilegu of Aihoma. No obvious reason why she should attract votes outside her own area. Perceived political wisdom is that women are no more capable of organising on gender lines than men, and the women's vote will not happen.

Henry Benoma

Businessman, owns a small guest house in Alotau. No obvious reason why he should attract votes outside his own area.

Isaac Tialabe

The sitting member. Samml-businessman in Alotau.

He has very little profile in Alotau civil society and does not appear to be responsible for any identifiable new development in the electorate since 2002.

But was outspoken and progressive on the floor of parliament on a number of issues including school fees.

A number of development failures have occurred on his watch:

failure to secure land for Water Board Alotau sewage-farm;

failure to establish new produce market in Alotau (lost Incentive Fund bid),

failure to establish new fisheries wharf in Alotau (lost ADB bid),

failure to get AULLG to pick up the rubbish regularly in Alotau, despite the Provincial government providing 2 dump truck packers.

The Governor says that Mr. Tailabe did not work well with the provincial government.

Jonas Sodias

Melanesian Liberal Party.

Lisia Ilibeni

from Nubi, West Suau. Came second in the last elections to Isaac Tiatabe. So is a strong contender. He is connected with Sagarai-Gedisu logging interests and the Padipadi oil palm scheme.

Rhonda Anakapu

Alotau businesswomen. Owner operator of Kikiwa Holdings service station, member of the Milne Bay Chamber of Commerce. No obvious reason why she should attract votes outside her own area. Perceived political wisdom is that women are no more capable of organising on gender lines than men, and the women's vote will not happen.

Samuel Leguna

an artist. No obvious reason why he should attract votes outside his own area.

Sarah Ronald

An owner, and inspirer of Raven Estates. Raven Estates is a bold and innovative venture in customary land development. There are now questions about the way it has been managed, after the previous manager left the company. No obvious reason why he should attract votes outside his own area. Perceived political wisdom is that women are no more capable of organising on gender lines than men, and the women's vote will not happen.

Wekina Mark

said to be running with Bob Danaya's party (Danaya is governor of the Western Province. No obvious reason why he should attract votes outside his own area.

Esa'ala Open

Laurie Wilson

Alotau-based lawyer from Dobu Island. Mr. Wilson is a sole practitioner.

He has kept his links with Dobu, and is well-known.

A solid candidate. But no political experience.

There is no apparent reason why he should beat the sitting member.

Mark Banasi

Ex Major from Defence Force from Gaula, Dobu retired into his wife's village near Sehulea, on Duau.

Not known to be wealthy. Lives as a villager.

A solid candidate, but no political experience at provincial or national level. Lost at the last elections.

There is no apparent reason why he should beat the sitting member, as he lost to him at the last elections.

Moses Maladina

The Sitting Member. He lived in Port Moresby between 2002-5 and commuted regularly to his wife's home in New Zealand.

His father's family are from Molima, on Ferguson Island.

His mother is from Baiyer River in the Western Highlands.

His mixed parentage, and his managerial experience makes him a formidable national politician if he holds onto his seat.

Former CEO of Airniugini.

Deputy Prime Minister. He almost became prime minister, but fluffed it, was sacked by Somare, and he went into the wilderness.

There was no PEP in his electorate between 2002-5. (payback?)

He started a whole sale/retail private venture with LLG participation at Esa'ala.

There is a lot of grumbling going on in the Esa'ala Open about the lack of change, and broken promises.

It said he is spending big, in the run-up to the elections.

But whatever they say, Mr. Maladina is an ambitious politician, who will give the new contenders a run for their money.

Peter Niesi

From Sawedi, Ferguson Island. Journalist, who worked for the Post Courier and the Ombudsman Commission. Potentially a strong candidate. But does not appear to have financial backing or paryy links at present.

Inoisi Baloiloi

Former manager of a government hostel in Port Moresby. There is no apparent reason why he should beat the sitting member.

Kiriwina -Goodenough Open

Brian Pulasi

The sitting member. A school teacher. He was the Minister for Higher Education, nut got shuffled-off. There does not appear to be any new development in the 2002-7 period in this electorate.

Kiriwina Goodenough is an isolated over populated under developed area, long neglected by politicians.

William Ebenosi

Rural Development Party candidate. Former member; half Dobuan from Sawedi Village. Know for helping people, building churches etc.

We are not hearing who else standing in Kiriwina-Goodenough, & will publish information as it becomes available

Development issues

1. North Coast Road: it is said that an extra K3 million has been obtained for this project that is under construction. This is a vote-winner.

2. Gurney airport infrastructure: The K3 million for Gurney airport international flight infrastructure is only just beginning to be accessed.

Contractors are this week picking-up the tender documents from Port Moresby Civil Aviation Authority.

On the whole the management of the airport renovations by the Milne Bay Provincial Government has been quite poor. The bureaucrats and politicians have allowed CCA to drag its feet.

3. Gurney subdivision More generally, the Milne Bay bureaucrats have let CCA off the hook, and have failed to develop the sub-division at the airport by having the land there advertised.

This is really a part of the bad management of land issues in Milne Bay by both politicians and officials.

Without the sub-division advertised the private sector cannot do its job of development.

4. Cairns - Gurney air link:

So far, the same politicians and officials have failed miserably to bring in the Cairns-Gurney air link.

Although all is not lost. Some quick negotiations before the elections could bring-in the bacon.

The Cairns - Gurney air link is vital infrastructure for the tourist industry in Milne Bay.

Governor Neville will carry the political punishment for this, which is partially unfair, because all the Open Members are equally responsible.

We now know that the East New Britain Provincial Government paid Air Nuigini a K100,000 subsidy to have a flight from Cairns to Kokopo. Such a subsidy is not unheard-of to kick-start a new route. Air Niugini simply say: offer to pay us and we will look at it.

5. Governor a poor communicator: Some of the fault here lies in the poor communication links between the Governor, Milne Bay politicians, their staff, officials, and business.

Politicians who spend time out of the province, and do not have competent personal staff to handle their business communications, have only themselves to blame.

Communicating is important. Try getting a web-site! Learn to do e-mail and make sure your staff are e-literate.

The electorate is becoming more sophisticated and demanding high standards.

6. East Cape Road & Magi Highway. The sealing of the road from near Gumine to near Bubuleta was a major accomplishment. But the road is beginning to break-up towards East Cape, near Gumine, and the last 13 km or so were never sealed.

The sealing of the road is a major accomplishment. It brought the province into the 21st century and inspired.

7. Power generation: new generators have been installed in the power-house to cope with rural electrification along the East Cape Road and the expansion of Alotau.

This is important infrastructure. But the powerhouse is very noisy and pollutes the surrounding area.

8. Oil Palm & bio diesel: the attempt to lease out land on Woodlark island for an oil palm scheme has all the signs of being poor development.

The land allocation issue has been handled without transparency.

The environmental and forestry procedures are very complex.

The social impact of importing large numbers of outsiders to Woodlark Island problematic.

The environmental assessment of clear-felling a forest known for its ebony and hard-woods for oil palm, looks bad.

bio diesel: The bio-diesel plant on a Harbours Board lease raises the whole question of why a palm-oil based bio-diesel, and not a coconut oil bio-diesel?

Milne Bay exports about 1200 tonnes of copra p.a. But the potential is closer to 25,000 tonnes. That is all smallholder based. So why oil palm? Why not coconut-diesel? What has happened to the planning process and priorities?

There seems to be no thought or planning.

Merely an opportunistic grab, close to elections, at a poorly documented offer of development, that Papua New Guinea sees all too often. Simply not good enough.

Cargill's staff, informally, are saying: "no one has approached us to sell them crude palm-oil". There is a rumour that the crude oil palm will be supplied by Mecca 44. But Mecca 44 is a Cargills contractor only.

So where will the crude-stock come from?

Woodlark Island FFB would not come on stream for 4 to 6 years.

Many of these questions should be answered in the environmental plan.

The environmental plan has been published, but the Governors office gave it to a political party organiser, and it is not available to the public.

9. Skills Development Trust Fund

The Asian Development Bank made available US$ 20 million for technical training, especially for rural youth.

It is necessary for the provincial government to sign an agreement with the ADB to access these funds.

We are told that no agreement has been signed.

The pork-barrel


With the elections now two months away sitting MPs are beginning to distribute gifts to their electorates.

Once the writs are issued on the 15th of May, the electoral laws come into effect, and successful candidates have to very careful, if they do not want their election invalidated by the court of disputed returns.

Gifting by sitting members is happening throughout Papua New Guinea.

What we have heard about so far:

Aitape: 15 land-cruisers distributed
a MB electorate a container of outboard motors
a MB electorate a regional candidate handing K500 in notes
East Sepik 200 outboard motors distributed for a cocoa-project.

What does the law say?

PNG Criminal Code :

"Corruption & Improper Practices at Elections


A person who-

(a) gives... any person any property or benefit of any kind-

(i) on account of anything done... by an elector at an election...;or
(iii) in order to induce any person to endeavour to procure the
return of at an election, or the vote of any elector at an
election; or

(b) being an elector ... receives ... any property.... on account of anything
done ... at an election...

is guilty of a demeanour"

What should a moral voter do?

A religious person will have a faith-based moral code, that teaches: do not break the law, do not accept stolen property, do not accept property that is given in immoral circumstances.

Should a moral voter accept a gift from a candidate at the time of an election?

1. Gifts that clearly fall within the Bribery section of the Criminal Code are unlawful and should be refused.

The matter should be reported to the police, the Electoral Commission, the Ombudsman Commission.

2. Gifts that are suspicious, that is may or not be an actual breach of the Criminal Code, could well be unlawful.

The wise person will refuse these gifts, and report to the the police, the Electoral Commission, the Ombudsman Commission.

3. But what of gifts coming from sitting members at this time. Are not these lawful, being distributions from public funding that has been voted by Parliament?

Could be so.

But many people see these as "bribes".

They say:

"why didn't they distribute the gifts before, instead of waiting to the two months before the elections? The whole exercise smells. We know the way these people operate".

4. But should a person reject a gift that has the appearance of state-sanction?

The distributions of gifts from District Support Grants and other "slush-funds" comes from tax payers money.

It is state funding, collected through the tax-system, and distributed through a system that has the sanction of law (although it is often misused).

What was Christ's position?

"And they asked him saying:

"Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar?"

But he perceived their craftiness and said unto them, "Why tempt me so? Show me a penny? Whose image and superscription hath it?" And they answered and said "Caesar s"

And he said unto them ,

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's"

What sort of candidates should we vote for ?

time to lift our game!


"Honesty" is an issue in this election.

This is the election that could bring Milne Bay into the 21st century, with modern development.

Or we could get ourselves lumped with sleezy-politicians in the pockets of the loggers, beche de mer and sharkfin buyers.

The top issue is corruption.

Papua New Guinea is a rich country, but there is too much corruption that is holding back development.

The "binge-spending", pork-barrel, by the government at the time of the elections, is a species of bribery, and is corrupt.

They want to buy votes.

It is very unfair. Sitting MPs have access to state/taxpayer funding to "bribe" voters, but other candidates cannot access taxpayers money.

Only vote for candidates:

  • who will support a Supreme Court challenge on the validity and legal consequences of the "binge-spending", and ask the courts to disqualify MPs who have used taxpayers money to "bribe" the electorate in the run-up to the elections.

  • who oppose corruption and will support an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Watch out for candidates whose parties do not support an ICAC. If there is no firm commitment, forget them.
  • who you know to be free from vice, no adulterers, drunks, ex-criminals, no domestic violence

  • with a genuine religious-base to their lives. Reject the hypocrites, those who say they were saved, but you suspect are carrying on regardless.

Beware of the political parties.

All the parties are associated with the current rotten system.

Now its election time the parties realise the electorate is not so stupid, and they are beginning to make concessions, throw pieces of meat, but can they be trusted?

Are political parties honest?

Can the candidate deliver development?


  • LLG elections are very important. LLGs are under-funded in the present system so this work is very hard. LLG councillors need special talents to deliver development where funding is short. Of course they need the strength to change that unfair system.

  • We need to have honest LLG councillors, a religious-base to their lives, fair and efficient managers running the LLGs. They should be responsible people, well-known for their integrity.

  • Not open to bribes from logging companies. No drunks, adulterers, wife-beaters etc

  • A track record of delivering development in their own village.

  • Modern managers, who communicate well.

  • Do not vote for candidates who
  • cannot fix the potholes in the road
  • cannot get the wharf repaired
  • cannot get the grass cut on the airstrip
  • cannot keep the aid post stocked with medicines & building and orderly houses repaired
  • cannot see the schools have proper class-rooms, chalk, pencils and paper, and the teachers are paid regularly, their houses repaired, and the teachers stay on the job, and not run-off to Alotau
  • cannot pick-up the rubbish
  • cannot control the drunks and gambling
  • cannot control the dogs & pigs
  • cannot organise sports, and look after youth
  • do not support women's groups
  • cannot support the village and land courts

Provincial seat.

In Milne Bay a governor runs what is really a state "business" worth about K40 million year. The governor must have real business management skills.

In addition a Governor must be able to pull-in development from the PEP Public Expenditure Program, and the aid donors.

If the candidate cannot do these things, and or has no experience in these fields, forget about them. They will be disasters, and we will slide back to what we were before.

The danger in the present elections is that "bribery" will allow the old-style inefficient leaders back in.

You should only vote for a person who is a success in private or public life (no losers), or is capable of inspiring others to manage the province, through leadership and example.

Beware: there will be a lot of has-beens, "third-time losers trying their luck", party-hacks trying to make the numbers up for their parties.

You should stand firm and vote for either

a proven manager, who has a record of successful business, or administration

or a charismatic leader, with a workable vision, who is capable of inspiring others to develop the province.

Open seats

the qualities for an open candidate are similar to those for the provincial seat.

But the emphasis here is "team".

Open members are part of a "provincial team". They need to be able to work together with other provincial MPs, LLG presidents, and provincial public srvants.

Open candidates should be modern managers. They have to be able to understand the law and the Constitution.

They should be people who are successful in their way of life: business, government, church etc.

They should have achieved some thing in their life, so they can share that experience with their electorate.

election context

First: preferential votes will determine the elections.

If the NCD by-election shows anything, the National Alliance, big parties, benefit from the LPV system.

Second: this is Milne Bay, and not NCD.

Papua New Guinea politics for the past 5 years was dominated by the Sepik mafia, because Highland MPs in 2002 failed to get their act together and use their obvious numbers to control the government.

2007 could see the Sepiks loose power, and a power shift to the Highlands.

Milne Bay politicians were not successful in penetrating the Sepik-power base after 2002.

Overall they all did poorly in accessing development funding, and there were some real mistakes that could have been avoided had they worked together. or been efficient and vigilant.

Our MPs fluffed a number of development opportunities.

Challenges to Somare, by Mr. Neville and Mr. Maladina failed and cost the province dearly.

The political reality was if you were not in the inner circle, you did not get anything.

As the political morality of government and its association with questionable deals and incidents was very clear, to stay out side of the inner circle was a good moral choice, if it was deliberately made.

The governor of the Eastern Highlands managed to stay-out, or on the outer, and turned his province around. So it was not impossible to stay away from the dirty centre, but bring development..

Mr. Pulasi, from Kiriwina Goodenough was a minister, but was shuffled-off.

In a way, the quiet achiever was Mr. Wesley from Samarai- Murua, who kept a low profile for 5 years, but it is said now, is reasonably cashed-up, in the run-up to the elections.


The issue for the voter in these elections is whether to break with the politics of the "big-man", and the pork-barrel (offering money etc as an incentive to voter), that in the past has dominated Papua New Guinea electoral politics.

The alternative is to choose "better management", more modern and efficient leadership.

Unfortunately, that was the issue that Mr. Neville and Mr. Maladina won on in the last elections.

They presented themselves as "modern managers".

The electorate's perception, so some claim, rightly or wrongly, is that they did not deliver. The perception is they "failed".

This line of political theory says that gives an opening to the old-style politicians again.

This is because the perception is that voters feel let down. And they may want to go back to a political model they are use to. A "customary" leader, who understands customary obligations and is not "too managerial".

This is where candidates like Titus Philemon, Clive Romulus , Lisia Ilibeni and other grass-roots politicians have strengths.

So will we go



back to the future?

Policies of a Good Candidate

total vision

  • a fair & honest Milne Bay based on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) development by PNGs
  • honour existing development agreements, but
  • re-negotiate unjust and unfair development agreements
  • devolve power, and empower local level government and provinces.


  • call for the abolition of the national-debt
  • down-size public-sector in Milne Bay to between 40 - 60 % of current size, and get a PEP project to support a fair & just re-retrenchment package. Move downsizing savings to infrastructure and social services. Insist on computer literacy for all officials.
  • allow taxpayers to tithe 10% of their taxes to their churches for church health, education & infrastructure
  • call for implementation of a strong kina close to either US or Australian dollar in value.
  • call for a basic wage to equal actual cost of family of 4, and establish "equal-pay for equal work" (no special "expatriate" salaries & allowances)


  • publish the Milne Bay development plan hard-copy, and on the web
  • priority to SME by Milne Bay people.
  • devolve forest and fisheries powers to the province
  • stop export logging in Milne Bay; only allow exporting of processed timber (no exporting fliches)
  • call for all gold & copper to be processed in-country, the stripping of wet gas in-country
  • call for the re-negotiation of the parity pricing oil agreement between the GofPNG and InterOil, for domestic processors.


  • finish sealing road from border to East-Cape, & implement rural electrification along the corridor
  • do a road-maintenance plan and public updates regularly (on the web)
  • no road-link to Port Moresby during the 2007- 2012 Parliament.
  • extend mobile telephone, and affordable broadband, coverage to all Milne Bay District centres
  • wharf-building & upgrading at all Milne Bay seaboard district & sub-district ports
  • complete international airport renovations at Gurney
  • implement Gurney-Cairns air link.
  • re-develop Samarai for tourism,
  • put a satellite-towns at Gurney, and other Milne Bay district centres


  • target food-production, switch from export-cropping to food-production, marketing and downstream processing based on existing gardening skills and food-security
  • target youth and women in agricultural development and SME
  • fix-up the markets in Alotau, and other key Milne Bay locations
  • establish a coconut oil processing facility in Milne Bay
  • integrate food-production with existing oil palm, and have palm-oil and palm kernel processed in-country
  • regularly review the oil palm FFB price, to get rid of monopoly-pricing effects and stop cheating small-holders
  • no expansion of oil palm in forests to protect biodiversity for future generations


  • free education from elementary to grade 12
  • radically alter existing curricula so that each student leaves school with a "skill": horticulture, animal husbandry, agriculture, carpentry, metal-work, engine-maintenance, electric, computers, accountancy
  • access the US$20 million ADB Skills Development Trust fund to develop technical skills
  • adequate number of competitive scholarships for tertiary education so no talented child is prevented by poverty from achieving their ambition.


  • accept the Cuban offer of 600 doctor scholarships for Papua New Guineans in Cuba, and 200 Cuban doctors while they study. 2 doctors in every district
  • upgrade health clinics in all districts
  • upgrade Alotau General Hospital outpatients ward
  • private health option in Milne Bay with link to an Australian hospital

law & justice

  • seek international assistance for policing to minimise crime in Milne Bay
  • "neighbourhood watch" and community policing throughout the province
  • put a judge in Alotau (build judges house)
  • review court-system, including infrastructure and civil & criminal procedure
  • see:
  • ICAC to stop corruption
  • publish monthly Milne Bay Provincial Government and all LLG accounts, hard-copy & on the web

Land & resources

  • land powers to be fully devolved to the province with adequate funding
  • land register of Milne Bay alienated land to be in the Province, and accessible electronically in each district.
  • separate system of land, resources and environment courts to be established and funded in Milne Bay
  • supremacy of customary ownership to be confirmed, and state land rents to be paid to customary owners
  • resources law to confirm the ownership of minerals and hydrocarbons vests with customary owners.


  • Devolve environmental power to the province, and beef-up inspectoral capability & enforce environmental laws
  • introduce re forestation and replanting laws in LLGs to ensure replanting of all trees harvested for sawmills (rosewood & kwila)
  • link landscape planning to physical planning to protect the landscape as a tourist asset
  • Ban submarine-tailings, riverine tailings disposal, and deep-seabed mining in Milne Bay
  • ban export live-fishing in Milne Bay to protect domestic food-supply
  • plan and wind-down beche-de-mer and shark-fin to prevent stocks collapsing totally
  • Commission of Enquiry into the past activities of the Milne bay export logging industry

foreign affairs

  • press Australia to accept seasonal workers from Milne Bay.
  • call for support to West Papuan self-determination, internationally

Saturday, 17 February 2007

sitting members

Overview of government in Milne Bay
2002 to 2007

In the period of the parliament now coming to a close, there was no new large-scale development in Milne Bay, no real political commitment to the environment and conservation, and a K15 million donor funded conservation project was allowed to collapse.

Milne Bay Community-based Coastal and Marine Conservation Project

Stage 1 of the Milne Bay Community-based Coastal and Marine Conservation Project, failed. There is no marine conservation in Milne Bay.

US$ 5.26 million in donor funds was largely wasted. The political responsibility for collapse of the project has to be carried by Milne Bay Governor Tim Neville, Titus Tiatabe, the MP for Alotau Open , and Gordon Wesley the MP for Samarai Murua, in whose electorates this waste occurred .

The politicians did not keep the public servants, who had the duty of over-sighting the project, on their toes. The oversight committees at national and provincial level failed, and this neglect allowed project management to waste somewhere between $US800,000 and US$1.4million. The full scope of the disaster will never be known.

The Milne Bay Community-based Coastal and Marine Conservation Project was largely funded through the Global Environment Facility, the birth-right given to the People of Milne Bay, under the Biodiversity Convention, created in Rio de Janeiro 1991.

The frightening aspect of the collapse is the clear indication that both the national and, more importantly, the Milne Bay Provincial Government did not have the managerial ability to implement such a complex project. The project was just too big for Milne Bay, the Provincial Government could not handle it. All that side, much of the responsibility for bad management belongs to the managing contractor Conservation International, the United Nations Development Program, and the Global Environment Facility. Here future politicians and managers need to learn not to rely on over-paid foreign consultants, and international bureaucrats. The lesson to be learnt is to recognise that a project is too big to be controlled, for the benefit of the People. The MBPG did not have the analytical ability to identify a project that was conceptually bad from the beginning.

In those circumstances it is almost unfair, but not quite, that the system of democracy we have, sheets political responsibility to our elected members of parliament. Someone has to take the responsibility for squandering a gift of K15 million, and in an election year, it is the sitting members.

Development Milne Bay 2002-7

The Milne Bay Province during 2002-2007 did not receive any major input in development from the national government. There were no new major Public Expenditure Program projects during that period. Our sitting politicians were unable to bring home the bacon in a meaningful way. There was a flow-on from the initiatives and planning of the previous parliament. The stability and continuity allowed the continued development of the road-system around Alotau. Road sealing from Gumini to Bubuleta, the North-coast road system, increased power-house capacity, strengthening telecommunications progressed.

Environment & conservation in Milne Bay

There is no political consciousness on environmental protection

The Governor of Milne Bay Tim Neville MP.

The main beneficiary of the perception of stability created by Governor Tim Neville was the inflow of private investment. As the Governor's vision of development, is one of private-sector growth, he delivered what he said he would deliver.

As the province, in the past, has been served by some disastrous governors, and development held back, and no concern for the environment, the search for a viable alternative, who would do better, is in the forefront of the electoral mind.

The question of Governor Neville's long absences from the Province, his poor communications management with his constituency and civil society, seems of secondary importance. But it could prove fatal to his chances of re-election, as People are tired of politicians who are bad communicators. With electoral staff paid by the taxpayer, there is no excuse. Governor Neville was never easy to contact by telephone, even through his staff, but acquired an email address in the last year of his office. He had an electoral office throughout the period of the parliament.

At the beginning of the 2002 parliament Governor Neville was close to Prime Minister Somare. But as time past, there was a perception that the Governor kept away, or was held away, from the Somare-led National Alliance. He criticised them in the early days of the parliament for their inaction on corruption.

There were only 2 meetings of the provincial assembly in 2006. the Organic Law says there must be four a year. The excuse that there was insufficient funding to hold 4, is not acceptable. The Organic Law is a constitutional law. It must be obeyed. The neglect to have the constiutionally require meetings of the Provincial Assembly needs to be put into the context of two serious inhibitors of development:

There was only one meeting of the Lands Board in 2006. That is simply not good enough. Development in the province was held back because of lack of secure land availability.

There is a deteriorating crime situation in Milne Bay. The police are out of control. Private sector suffered from armed attacks and looting.

Titus Taitabe MP for Alotau Open

As the member for Alotau Mr. Tiatabe, has virtually no political profile in the town of Alotau.

The main developments, roading, bridges sealing etc, that occurred in his electorate, were in place by 2002.

A number of crucial Alotau-related projects were lost between 2002-2007.

1. the Asian Development Bank Fisheries wharf funding was lost.
2. the Austaid Incentive Fund application for a new Alotau market failed
3. the Water Board withdrew funding for the purchase of land for a sewage farm for Alotau.

These were quite crucial projects that affected development, the environment and conservation. They failed.

Many of the criminal attacks occured in Mr. Taitable's electorate. There was in essence: no policing. He had no profile on deteriorating law and governaance.

He did not invite the Governor to participate on his electoral development committee. His excuse that there was insufficient funding for the regular convening of this committee, is not acceptable. He did not appear to have the political skill to coordinate LLGs within his electorate.

He did not maintain communications with civil society in Alotau. He did not have an email account, office, or an accessible telephone number. He has not maintained a relationship with the MB Chamber of Commerce. He has no public profile of fighting for the upgrading or maintenance of the roads in Alotau, around Milne Bay, or the East Cape Road, the bad state of the Alotau Market, sewage problems in Alotau, and waste-disposal in Alotau.

Mr. Taitabe was strong on the floor of Parliament. He questioned ministers on school fees, and the effect that had on the People in his electorate. He was one of the few MPs to do this. He also challenged the licensing of the "MV Milne Bay", on the basis of the influx of criminals that the ship brought with it.

Mr. Taitabe had no public in-put to the evaluation of the Milne Bay Community-based Coastal and Marine Conservation Project, although that project brought cash into his electorate, it affected his People only at the margin.

Moses Maladina MP Esa'ala Open

Mr. Maladina quickly became Minister for Agriculture and then Deputy Prime Minister. He attempted to get the numbers to take the position of Prime Minister. But failed. He was sacked by the Prime Minister.

He never had a proper residence in his electorate, or Alotau. He lived in Port Moresby and flew-in, flew-out. He now has an electoral office in Alotau. He had very little political profile in the province, and did not keep a regular email contact with civil society. He was not on good terms with the Governor.

He organised Kula-Mai in his electorate, a business of wholesale and retailing. It has been alleged, subject to confirmation, that the Local Level Governments contributed to the capitalisation of this project.

There was no major PEP project in the Esa'ala electorate.

There has been gold mine exploration work on both Normanby and Ferguesson Islands. All of this development carries with it risks of environmental pollution from potential waste-disposal systems.

The general perception in his electorate is that nothing has really changed.

Gordon-Wesely MP. Samarai-Murua Open

There was no major in-put in new development in this constituency between 2002 and 2007.

He did push for a fuel-subsidy to his electorate. The 2007 Budget gave a subsidy in formal terms, but it has been implemented, because it is being blocked by the oil companies.

Some of the small islands in his electorate have been designated "Small Islands In Peril", because of over fishing of shark-fin and bech-de mer. These fisheries will collapse in about 7 years time. In this respect, the Milne Bay Community-based Coastal and Marine Conservation Project was quite crucial to his electorate. But he did not make a public in-put into the final evaluation of Stage 1 of the project.

There has been gold mining exploration on Woodlark Island. There is concern over the effects of alluvial gold mining on Misima. There are plans to give a mining concession to deep-sea mining in this electorate. The environmental effects of deep-seabed mining on marine habitats are unknown. But the operations involve dredging the seabed.

In December 2006, an attempt was made to grant a state lease of about 100,000 ha of land on Woodlanrk Island to a previously unknown Malaysian connected company.

He has an electoral office in Alotau.

Brian Pulaysi MP, Kiriwina Goodenough

There was no major in-put in new development in this constituency between 2002 and 2007. His electorate is an isolated area with high levels of un-development, over population and poverty.

He was for a short-time Minister for Higher Education.

The general perception in his electorate is that nothing has really changed.

Elections due June 2007

This blog will provide information on the elections in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

The focus will be environment, conservation, development, corruption, and the past performance of candidates

The site will provide material that is currently circulating in Alotau.