Party over for PNG's Triumph Heritage Empowerment group
A Papua New Guinea cabinet minister defends his and other MPs decision to leave one of the country's main political parties which is crumbling amid the fallout from its leader's sacking as Treasurer.
One of Papua New Guinea's main political parties is disintegrating amid fallout over its leader's sacking from cabinet.
The Triumph Heritage and Empowerment party leader Don Polye was sacked as Treasurer in March by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.
Mr Polye has now moved to the opposition after waging a bitter war of words with Mr O'Neill over various policy and governance issues.
The Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, the Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore, Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Benjamin Poponawa and MP David Arore have all left the THE party.
Mr Tomuriesa told Johnny Blades that in-house politics had become unsustainable.
DOUGLAS TOMURIESA: A lot of people from outside do not know that we have tried our very best to fix up the in-house politics with our leader, Don Polye. Unfortunately, every time we tried to sort out the problem with our leader within the party, he's not prepared to sit down and talk to us and listen to what we have to say to him. He wants us to listen to him but he cannot listen to us.
JOHNNY BLADES: And are you powerless to remove him as leader and still keep the party? Because it seems such a waste to kind of throw away a good party?
DT: That's very true, I agree with you. We tried our very best to deal with it in-house. We had numerous meetings, late night meetings, but the party leader wants to hold on to the party and doesn't want to discuss certain issues that are affecting the running of the party internally.
JB: Is it a case of you guys not being prepared to not be in government because it's difficult to get the resources that you need for your constituencies if you're not in government?
DT: That's very true. As you know, we are a Westminster system of government and in our politics in Papua New Guinea, it's very different from say New Zealand or Australia. In politics in Papua New Guinea, you have to be in government to get services for your people. If you sit out in opposition, it will be very, very difficult for you and I know you know what I'm talking about.
JB: From the outside it looks like you've all deserted Polye and having been the beneficiaries of his huge standing in Papua New Guinea politics, helping you all with support and resources through the elections and now it looks like you've abandoned him.
DT: No, no, no, it's not about Don Polye. This is not about Polye. You must get it correct, that this is nothing to do with Polye.
JB: But your party has disintegrated as a result of it. You said you tried to work it out in-house, but it's not very good for party politics in PNG, when the second biggest party has just crumbled.
DT: I agree with you but you see, the party is not about one person, Don Polye. The party is about the elected representatives in the party. Without the elected representatives of the party, that party, the Triumph Heritage and Empowerment party, will not exist. It's because of we, the elected leaders that the party exists.
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