9 Jun 2008

Hopes Bougainvillle will live up to the legacy of peace left by veteran leader Joseph Kabui

7:50 pm on 9 June 2008

A former New Zealand diplomat who worked alongside Bougainville's late President, Joseph Kabui, says he leaves a legacy of peace he hopes the province can live up to.

Joseph Kabui, the province's premier in the late 1980s before becoming a rebel leader, he was elected President when Bougainville became autonomous, within Papua New Guinea, in 2005.

He died in hospital in Buka of a suspected heart attack at the weekend

New Zealand Opposition MP, John Hayes, who was the New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG in the 1990s, says the pressures of his life - ten years of being shot at, and the stresses of government - took their toll on Mr Kabui.

"Well I hope he leaves a legacy of peace, and I hope the people of Bougainville give him that memorial. He certainly worked very hard to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict that Francis Ona kicked off, and I hope that both the Government of Papua New Guinea, and the people of Papua New Guinea, and the people of Bougainville will have learned from the huge cost."

John Hayes