Australian Greens

one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, Papua New Guinea faces multinational resource extraction that threatens local people and the climate. But at the country’s upcoming 2022 election, the PNG Greens are mounting their strongest fight yet.

By Andrew Kutapae, Michelle Sheather and Paul Hellard

The PNG Greens formed in 2001 and have run candidates in the last two national elections. They now have a national MP, Richard Masere, who is a vice minister to the prime minister of PNG.

Excitingly, they are also ready to challenge the status quo in PNG in the upcoming 2022 election, fielding their strongest candidates yet.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, home to rich ecosystems and the world’s third-largest intact rainforest, which has traditionally sustained indigenous communities. Half of this land has been annexed by timber and palm oil companies, backed by global finance, with grave results for local people and the climate.

Since gaining independence in 1975, after almost a century of colonial rule, PNG continues to face multinational resource extraction from mining, forestry, and agribusiness industries.

According to the UN, PNG is ranked amongst the twenty most vulnerable countries to climate change, and was the first nation to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement. On the frontlines, climate change refugees have been relocated from outer islands in Bougainville such as Carteret and Manam Islands already, with more islands under threat.

With this backdrop, from April to June, the PNG Greens – the closest neighbour to the Australian Greens – will field candidates in key electorates and aim to increase their presence in parliament with a target of four or five MPs.

The PNG Greens General Secretary Andrew Kutapae says that campaigning to preserve PNG’s unique ecosystems for the people of Papua New Guinea is a focus of the upcoming election campaign. Issues from mining and deforestation to fishing, along with asserting sovereignty over the country’s natural resources and fighting the corruption that has stymied the country, are all critical.

This campaign is championed by Hon. Richard Masere, who in his role as the Vice-Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Foreign Investment Matters, has a unique insight into PNG’s relationships with international companies. Since 1975, all PNG governments have been formed by a coalition of parties because no one party has won enough seats to form a government in their own right. It is in this context that the PNG Greens have a positive working relationship with the current government and prime minister.

PNG Greens candidates have already commenced campaigning for the upcoming election in which 40 percent of their candidates will be women – the highest of any party in PNG, where a quota of 10 percent female candidates per party is set.

“We as women in PNG are pleased to represent our community and give women more of a voice inside the parliament in PNG to advocate for mutual respect, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” says Lillian Motop, the PNG Greens candidate in the seat of North Waghi, and the Women’s Convenor of the PNG Green Party.

Asked about the party’s foreign affairs agenda and the status of West Papua, Andrew Kutapae is unequivocal: “West Papua independence is a human rights issue and we strongly support them in their struggle. These issues are front and centre on our agenda, to be rectified when we win a few seats and get into government at the next election.”

Despite the strength of their policies, commitment to Global Green values, and the support they are receiving across Papua New Guinea, funding an election campaign is a challenge. In the PNG elections, political parties usually sponsor all their candidates. To assist them, the party has launched their international crowdfunding campaign, which you can contribute to here.

Donate now to support the PNG Greens’ election campaign

Every dollar donated is greatly appreciated and will assist enormously in the campaign for the election of PNG Greens candidates. All fundraising efforts will also be in accordance with Green values.

The result of the upcoming parliamentary election will set the stage for the future of Papua New Guinea, at a critical juncture in PNG’s history. The reverberations on global forests and climate change are felt beyond their borders. Let us help make their future Green!

The PNG Greens would like to thank the Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) for their assistance in the delivery of the Party’s December 2021 National Convention and for their support in the upcoming training of the Young Greens in April 2022 in Port Moresby.

Andrew Kutapae is the PNG Greens General Secretary, Michelle Sheather is the Australian Greens’ International Development Coordinator, and Paul Hellard represents the Australia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF).

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