PNG Govt to hike election nomination fee tenfold

2:36 pm on 3 November 2016

The Papua New Guinea Government is planning a national election nomination fee for next year of K10,000 or US$3,150.

Currently the nomination fee is K1,000 but the government has indicated a need to offset a lack of funds for the Electoral Commission ahead of next year's five-yearly general elections.

Papua New Guinea's parliament.

It's becoming more expensive for Papua New Guineans seeking to stand for parliament. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Cabinet has also approved a shorter election campaign period and a 12 month delay in local level government and ward elections.

The Post Courier reports the government is looking to cuts the costs associated with the 2017 election for which it has allocated US$126 million.

The nomination fee hike is a ten fold increase, while four weeks would be allowed for campaigning rather than eight.

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told parliament that the last time nomination charges were changed was well over 30 years ago.

He said the 2017 election could be expected to field more than 4000 candidates in 111 electorates, making it very expensive.

Mr O'Neill said it was noticeable that recent elections have costed more and more because the number of candidates kept increasing while the Electoral Commission was required to print every ballot paper with every photo.

The prime minster said the increased fee was not for government revenue but to fund the election itself.

When the prime minister signalled the government's plans for the nomination fee in August, the opposition warned that it would seriously disadvantage those not in government.

The deputy opposition MP Sam Basil said the government had passed its failure to fund elections on to PNG citizens.

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