By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
As the country prepares for its next National General Election in 2017, questions were raised in Parliament last week about electoral boundaries.
Concerns were raised that the current boundaries were established many years ago and since then, population has increased significantly and is affecting service delivery and wealth distribution.
Member for Laiagam-Pogera, Nixon Mangape, asked the Prime Minister why the Government has not funded the Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Laiagam-Pogera MP, Nixon Mangape, highlighted that the present electoral boundaries are old.
Population has increased placing more demands on better service delivery, equitable distribution of wealth and fair political representation.
The Electoral Boundaries Commission is the only body with the power to review electoral boundaries in PNG.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, said during this session of parliament, an appropriation bill will be brought forward to cater for the funding and work of the Electoral Commissioner, especially in the preparation of the 2017 election.
He said this will be presented as soon as the officials present the Commission’s recommendations.
Under Section 125 of the Constitution, the Boundaries Commission shall recommend to the Parliament the number of open electorates and their boundaries for determination by the Parliament.
Mr O’Neill said there was a need to either increase the number of seats of MP’s in parliament, or create new electorates in places that have large populations.
He said the constitution allows for up to 120 electorates to be established.
According to the former Electoral Commissioner, Sir Andrew Trawen, Parliament last approved the 89 Open and 20 Provincial Electorates in February 1977, whose boundaries have not changed since reviews were conducted in 1981, 85-86, 1991 and 2005.