Jonathan Coleman, Murray McCully
31 May, 2012
NZ to help election in PNG
The New Zealand Defence Force is assisting the upcoming June election in Papua New Guinea, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman announced today.
“Following a request from the PNG government, New Zealand will support the local authorities in the delivery of a safe, free and fair election by providing logistical support and observers,” Mr McCully says.
“We will work alongside the Australian Defence Force which is also assisting in the election process.”
NZDF will provide three RNZAF helicopters and 40 staff to ensure electoral officials and ballot boxes can be delivered to remote areas.
The New Zealand Aid Programme will fund the charter of boats to transport electoral commission staff and supplies to remote locations.
“The 40 NZDF personnel will operate across the lowland region and coastal townships, including the nearby Papua New Guinea Islands,” Dr Coleman says.
“They will be working as part of a combined task force with the Australian Defence force, which has assigned four helicopters and two B350 King Airs to help.
“New Zealand and Australia are committed to working together maintaining stability and promoting good governance in the Pacific,” Dr Coleman says.
Mr McCully says New Zealand, as in previous elections, will also provide a small team of election monitors.
“It is vital that the elections in PNG are free and fair and that the people of PNG have confidence in the outcome.
“We have welcomed the PNG government’s renewed commitment to free and fair elections in June. Both New Zealand and Australia are pleased to help a Pacific neighbour undertake a successful general election – it is important that we assist in whatever way possible,” Mr McCully says.