6 Jan 2015

PNG's Highlands Highway could be declared emergency zone

3:27 pm on 6 January 2015

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says the National Executive Council will discuss declaring an emergency in order to repair sections of the Highlands Highway.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill visits the Highlands Highway in Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill visits the Highlands Highway in Papua New Guinea Photo: PNG PM's Office

Peter O'Neill paid a surprise visit to the highway between Mendi and Lae last week and says he is shocked at the state of repair of some sections, saying immediate action is needed to repair the highway.

He says some contractors have failed to meet their obligations and could face legal consequences.

Mr O'Neill says Defence Force engineers could be deployed to fix sections of the highway.

"Governments after governments have spent so much money on the maintenance of this highway. Why is it that we are continuously always having the same problems? That is why it is important for me to have a first-hand view and experience of what is happening and I think we have been delaying making the hard decisions for too long."

Peter O'Neill says the government will implement a long-term management programme for the Highlands Highway and has promised to personally visit every month to ensure the work is carried out.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs