2 Mar 2007

PNG opposition says Southern Highlands problems unresolved

4:44 pm on 2 March 2007

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader, Peter O'Neill says the concerns which led to a state of emergency in Southern Highlands province six months ago remain.

The government sent hundreds of police and soldiers to the province in August last year and suspended the governor, Hami Yawari, because of lawlessness and maladministration with the provincial government.

But the Supreme Court declared the state of emergency unconstitutional and authority for the province is now back with Mr Yawari.

Mr O'Neill, who is one of nine Southern Highlands MPs in the national government, says he is not opposed to Mr Yawari resuming his role but he says good governance and law and order must be restored.

"And that we have increased provision of government services to the communities in the province. And both the government and the governor have failed to deliver that. I believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that the community is settled before the next elections."

Peter O'Neill