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PNC leader urges voters to demand candidates to outline policies

DEPUTY Leader of the People’s National Congress Party Mao Zeming has urged people in his electorate to make their choices wisely in the upcoming national elections in 2017.

Mr Zeming, who is Fisheries Minister, visited Siassi Island in his Tewai-Siassi electorate to open a double classroom in a primary school, and perform a ground-breaking ceremony for a new aid post.

The Siassi island group is a constituency holding a considerable amount of votes. Wasu and Sialum are the other two constituencies in the sprawling electorate with a population of 80,000.

“In 2012, you elected me as part of the O’Neill/Dion Government that identified Education, Health, Infrastructure Development, Law and Order, and Growing small Business as our top priorities.

“Each year we have allocated a substantial amount of money from national budget to fund these priority programs, right down to rural villages and remote islands like Siassi,” he told islanders who gathered at the Gun Primary School.

“Each district is given K10 million every year. So far we have received K36 million. You have seen projects that I have delivered. You know the policies of the government I am part of.

“I stand on that record. Many candidates will come calling on you for your votes. It is their constitutional right to stand for public office.

“But as a voter, you must insist that they outline their policies. You must insist that they spell out how they will secure your children’s future, how they will grow your small businesses, or build our infrastructure.

“It is easy to criticize. In the social media today you see all forms of personal attacks and innuendos. False news and allegations can be crafted to look real and spread very quickly.

“But you must separate fact from fiction. You must ask questions. Public debate must be on policy and issues we face daily. Do not allow baseless personal attacks and rhetoric to cloud your judgment. That way you will identify and select good leaders.”

Mr Zeming said he believes the PNC Party policy of allocating resources to districts through District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) has brought positive changes to a lot of rural districts like Tewai-Siassi in the last four years.

“We bought a ship (marine vessel) for K9 million to continue shipping service after Lutheran Shipping collapsed. Imagine how tough life would be for our people if we didn’t have that transport available.

“We have built classrooms and teachers houses in our schools. We have re-opened aid posts and upgraded pilot tracks to all weather roads. We have built two jetties and revived a cocoa estate.

“We have spent out K36 million wisely. Without DSIP we would not have achieved a lot of these projects. I am certain Waigani would have allocated and spent these monies elsewhere if government did not have the District Support Program in place,” Zeming said.
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