NZ pleased PNG election issues to be addressed

8:16 pm on 7 August 2017

New Zealand's foreign minister says he is pleased that Papua New Guinea's newly elected government has committed to addressing issues with its general election.

Gerry Brownlee has been Defence Minister and oversaw the Canterbury rebuild.

Gerry Brownlee has been Defence Minister and oversaw the Canterbury rebuild. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

PNG's 2017 election culminated in the start of its tenth parliament last week, and a vote for prime minister which returned Peter O'Neill to power.

This followed a six week election rife with electoral roll flaws and ballot irregularities.

Despite the problems, New Zealand's Gerry Brownlee said it was important to maintain perspective, pointing out that a government was now in place, while claiming the election was more peaceful than previous ones.

Ten people were killed in election-related violence in PNG's Highlands in the past several days, bringing the election death toll to almost 20.

Having returned to power, the O'Neill-led government promised to review and address election flaws.

This was welcomed by Mr Brownlee who indicated New Zealand would support these efforts.

"Elections in Papua New Guinea are renowned for being among the most expensive and logistically difficult in the world," said Mr Brownlee.

"While this one had some clear shortcomings, it's important to maintain perspective - this election period was more peaceful than previous elections and Papua New Guinea does now have a government in place.

"I'm pleased to see that prime minister O'Neill has committed to addressing some of issues experienced and New Zealand will look to support this work, including through assistance from the New Zealand Electoral Commission."

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