PNG Prime Minister Defends Preparations For 2018 APEC Summit

O'Neill addresses concerns about cost raised by Opposition leader

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 26, 2016) – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has defended the Government’s handling of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2018 and the last year’s Pacific Games after a barrage of questions from Opposition Leader Don Polye.

Polye told Parliament yesterday that the Apec meeting was “very expensive” and which he had advised against when in Government.

He said the Government should come out clear on whether it would cost K600 million or K120 million to host the event. Polye also asked why the Pacific Games facilities continued to be incomplete despite costing “billions with no returns”.

O’Neill said the Government would only spend K120 million for Apec Haus but the benefits to the country would be enormous with leaders and business leaders from Apec member countries attending.

“We are not going around spending extravagantly,” he said.

“Deliberate misinformation generated by the Opposition Leader and his team is beyond joking.

“We’ve been a member of the Apec community for close to 25 years,” O’Neill said.

“Opposition Leader, when he was the deputy prime minister, used to be so proud to represent Papua New Guinea at Apec meetings.

“The shameful thing about this is that we are the only member country that has never hosted one meeting. We are just in there for a ride.

“There comes a time in the country’s history when we must showcase who we are, like the Pacific Games that the Opposition Leader continues to say that we spent a billion kina-plus and so forth.

“There is no documented evidence whatsoever.

“We built all these things because it is for the future benefit of Papua New Guineans.

“We are the biggest country, biggest population, biggest economy and aren’t you proud of yourself?

“Isn’t it shameful that you cancel such events so that it’s politically advantageous for you?

“We built all these things because it is for the future benefit of Papua New Guineans.

“It is not going to benefit us in one year only – it is going to benefit us for over 20-30 years.”

The National
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