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The push to have Sentral Niu Ailan Local Level Government in the Namatanai district to become an electorate in 2027 is about 90 percent finalised.

Namatanai MP and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Walter Schnaubelt who is directly involved in the creation of a new electorate revealed this.

“The proposed name for the new electorate is ‘Konos Open Seat’. It’s about 90 percent finalised,” Schnaubelt said.

Sentral Niu Ailan LLG is the largest with 22 wards among five other LLG’s with the highest population of 45,000 in the Namatanai district of New Ireland province.

Schnaubelt who is passionate about creating a new electorate said he is not working in isolation but in consultation with the provincial government led by the Provincial Boundaries Committee Chairman, Ricky Fugonto.

“I’m happy to announce that the provincial government under the leadership of our Governor Sir Julius Chan is working in collaboration with me to make Konos Open Seat a reality.

 “I don’t want us to get confused with political interference, Governor and I want to see new electorate for Sentral Niu Ailan come into fruition. 

“The critical message here is that put politics aside and put the interest of Sentral Niu Ailan first.

 “I commend Mr Fugonto and his team for the work done in coming up with a new open electorate,” Schnaubelt said.

Minister Schnaubelt explained that in the previous submission, over a dozen electorates were proposed in Papua New Guinea and as a result the proposed Konos Open Seat did not make it in the first batch.

“Under the constitution the Parliament is allowed to approve only five proposed electorates in a term.

“This is because fiscal responsibility to support all new electorates at the same time becomes very challenging and the government will struggle to fund it. This is why we couldn’t get through the first batch because we were competing with the others as well.

“Nevertheless, I fought hard and urged the government to consider new open seat for Sentral Niu Ailan to be included in the second batch.

“I’m now building up the workforce team to make sure we must be in the second batch.”

Schnaubelt also announced that Namatanai District Development Authority has engaged Steel Lawyers at the cost of K500,000 to provide technical advice and guidance to achieve that objective.

According to the Provincial Boundaries Committee, the proposed number of LLGs would include Sentral East, Sentral West and Tabar Group of Islands.

Chairman of Provincial Boundaries Committee Ricky Fugonto said Konos is ready.

“Konos is well established already. It has its own administration and council which is not a problem because it has existing facilities readily available to be utilised.

“I would like to thank the open member for Namatanai for assisting at his level to push for a new Konos electorate to be a reality in the future,” Fugonto said.

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