by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
This year has seen a growth in the number of women contesting the election. One of them is mother-of-five, Mrs Lanieth Aua.
Aua who is contesting the East New Britain Regional seat again, is an independent candidate, according to the Electoral Commission.
She first contested in 2012 after retiring from teaching, and was also the lone woman contesting the seat.
For a first timer she had good results, finishing in sixth place out of 15 candidates.
Mrs Aua who also has a wealth of experience in the agriculture sector, is the Chairman of the East New Britain Women and Youth in Agriculture Association. And one of the policies she is focusing on is the downstream of commercial products in the province.
East New Britain has been known for producing cocoa and copra. But there are other locally grown products that can grow the local economy, like balsa, galip, and fresh vegetables and fruits. This is what Aua believes can stimulate the growth of the economy, among other activities.
Another focus is for the province to gain autonomy – a subject that has been talked about for years but has not eventuated. Other strategies include human resource development, gender equality, effective transparency and accountability, 100% landowner equity, and the establishment of the Inland Baining electorate.
Mrs Aua is contesting against 18 male candidates some of whom include incumbent Sir Leo Dion, and former Gazelle MP, Sinai Brown. Meanwhile, in neighbouring province, West New Britain, this year has seen an all-male domination contesting the regional and open seats.