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Official Name - The Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Land Area - 462,840 sq km (cf NZ 268,000 sq km)
EEZ - 3.12 million sq km (cf NZ 2.2 million sq km)
Population - 7.1 million (2010, EIU estimate). Population growth 1.94% pa (2012 CIA World Fact Book estimate)
Capital City - Port Moresby
Language - Tok Pisin (Pidgin English), English and Hiri Motu (around Port Moresby), plus over 800 other distinct languages
Currency - PNG Kina (K)
Exchange Rate - K1 = NZ$0.58 (February 2012)
Political system -
Pluralist democracy. Executive Power is exercised by the Head of State and the NationalExecutive Council (NEC, Cabinet) chaired by the Prime Minister.
National government - Prime Minister Rt Hon Peter O’Neill heads the Government and the People’s National Congress.
National legislature - Unicameral Parliament, 111 elective seats (89 open constituencies and 22 provincial constituencies).
Last election - July 2012
Next election due -2017
Head of State - Governor General representing Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Michael Ogio was sworn in as Governor-General for a six-year term on 20 February 2011.
Head of Government -Hon Peter O’Neill (People’s National Congress Party)
Hon Leo Dion (Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party)
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Inter-Government Relations
Hon Don Polye (Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party)
Minister for Treasury
Hon Mao Zeming (People’s National Congress Party)
Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources
Hon Patrick Pruaitch (National Alliance Party)
Minister for Forest and Climate Change
Hon Charles Abel (People’s National Congress Party)
Minister for National Planning
Hon John Pundari (People’s Party)
Minister for Environment and Conservation
Hon Sir Puka Temu (Our Development Party)
Minister for Public Service
Hon James Marape (People’s National Congress Party)
Minister for Finance
Hon Ben Micah (People’s Progress Party)
Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investment
Hon William Duma (United Resources Party)
Minister for Petroleum and Energy
Hon Rimbink Pato (United Party)
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration
Hon Richard Maru (Independent)
Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry
Hon Fabian Pok (United Resources Party)
Minister for Defence
Hon Nixon Duban (People’s National Congress Party)
Minister for Police
Hon Loujaya Toni (Indigenous People’s Party)
Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development
Main political parties - People's National Congress, PNG Party, National Alliance, United Resource Party, United Party, People's Action Party, Melanesian Alliance Party, National Party, New Generation Party, People's Progress Party, Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.
US$13.4 billion (EIU, 2011 estimate)
GDP growth - 7.0% (2010); Projections of 9.5% (2011, PNG Central Bank), 6.5% (2012, ADB) 20% (2014, IMF).
GDP per capita - US$4,052 (EIU, 2011 estimate)
Exports of Goods (FOB) - US$6.8 billion (EIU 2011 estimate)
(% of 2008 total exports)
|Fuels and mining products (e.g. copper, gold, crude petroleum)||43.8%|
|Agricultural products (palm oil, coffee, cocoa)||23.6%|
Principal Export markets
(% of 2008 total exports)
Import of Goods (CIF) - US$4.1 billion (EIU 2011 estimate)
(% of 2008 total imports)
|Fuels and mining products||16.2%|
Principal Import markets
(% of 2008 total imports)
Current account balance -
K3.56 billion (surplus March 2011)
Total Debt - External debt US$1.58 billion (EIU, 2010 estimate); Foreign exchange reserves US$3.190 billion (2011)
9.0% (2011, Central Bank of PNG)
Government budget - K9.3 billion (2011 forecast)
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$217 million year to December 2011
Main Exports to December 2011 (NZ$ million)
|Iron or non-alloy steel, clad||18.83|
|Textiles; worn clothing and articles||10.45|
|Processed vege preparations, frozen||5.05|
|Refrigerators and freezers||4.58|
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$13 million year to December 2011(N.B. The total value of imports fluctuates significantly depending on whether petroleum is purchased in that year)
Main Imports to December 2011 (NZ$ million)
|Oil-cake etc., other||3.56|
|Timber; sawn or chipped||0.52|
|Cereal straw and husks||0.47|
|Cocoa beans, whole||0.06|
|Parts for pulleys, cranes, lifts, fork lifts and earth movers||0.04|
New Zealand Aid Programme allocations:
2011/2012: NZ$34.1 million including regional funding (projected)
Earliest evidence of human occupation in PNG dates back 50,000 years. Europeans had known about New Guinea since first sightings by Portuguese and Spanish navigators in 1512. But it was only in 1828 that the Dutch claimed sovereignty over the western part of the island. In 1884, Germany annexed north eastern NewGuinea and the Bismarck Archipelago as ‘Kaiser Wilhemsland’. Four years later, the remaining eastern areas became a British colony. In 1914, Australia occupied German New Guinea, and from 1921 administered what had been the British and German sectors under a League of Nations mandate. In 1941 Japan occupied the north. In 1945 Australia was again given responsibility for PNG’s administration under UN trusteeship arrangements. PNG gained independence in 1975.
Though parties and party allegiances within the PNG parliamentary system are fluid, PNG has had an unbroken record of democratic continuity since independence. The independent judiciary and bodies like the Office of the Ombudsman are generally respected, the media has a free voice, and civil society is active. The country went through a difficult transition period in the year preceding the 2012 general election, but the current government has committed to moving past this. Women are chronically under-represented in parliament, although three new female MPs were elected in 2012.
PNG’s extensive mineral and petroleum deposits (gas, oil, gold and copper) and other natural resources (forests, fisheries) has the potential to provide a strong foundation for prosperity, but PNG remains one of the least developed countries in the Asia Pacific Region. While the PNG economy is the strongest in the Pacific, the country faces a number of challenges in maintaining economic growth and in translating that growth into improvements in social and economic wellbeing.
Boosted by strong commodity prices, PNG has maintained strong real GDP growth in recent years (annual growth rates averaging 6.35% between 2007 and 2010). The PNG Central Bank projected a growth rate of 9.5% in 2011 fuelled by strong consumption and investment in the natural resources sector.
An Exxon Mobil-led consortium has embarked on a US$15 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in the Southern Highlands with production to begin in 2014. Other major LNG projects are being advanced and have the potential to contribute significantly to Papua New Guinea’s economy.
PNG continues to face development challenges. About 85% of PNG’s population rely on subsistence agriculture and fishing. These communities receive little benefit from mineral and petroleum exports, and PNG remains one of the least developed nations on earth. The UNDP’s 2011 Human Development Index ranked it 153rd of 187 countries surveyed, lower than any other country in the Pacific. Life expectancy at birth in PNG is 61.6 years. Only 59.1% of adults are literate, and primary school completion rates are low. In 2009 UNAIDS reported that an estimated 0.92% (34,100 people) of PNG’s adult population were HIV positive, although programmes to slow the spread of the disease have had some success.
Priority issues faced by PNG in developing the country include health, education, transport and public infrastructures and services; ensuring effective and transparent governance; law and order problems and land ownership and access issues. While PNG retains internationally significant biodiversity in many parts of the country, risks of environmental degradation and unsustainable resource management by both domestic and foreign operators need to be managed.
PNG pursues a foreign policy of selective engagement, with a primary focus on the Asia-Pacific region. It is a member of the UN, the WTO, the Commonwealth and APEC. It is also an observer at ASEAN and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meetings. As the largest Pacific island state, PNG plays a major role in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). It hosted the October 2005 Forum meeting and served as PIF Chair in 2005-06, then returned as Interim Chair for most of 2006-07. PNG is also a founding member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
PNG’s external linkages are dominated by its relationship with Australia. Australia currently provides the bulk of all external aid to PNG (with an estimated $NZ509 million in 2010/2011), and is PNG’s main trading partner (in 2008 receiving 28% of PNG’s exports, sending 43.1% of imports). For Australia, PNG is its nearest neighbour and a key part of its immediate security environment.
PNG shares a land border with Indonesia, which brings with it the task of responding to the sensitive secessionist ambitions of some groups. PNG has also continued a policy of engagement with countries in Southeast and North Asia. Engagement with China has been particularly intense and fast-growing, with PNG receiving substantial Chinese aid and investment (China is now PNG’s second largest trade partner behind Australia). PNG has also consolidated links with Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and others over the last decade.
Diplomatic links were formally established soon after PNG achieved independence in 1975, building on official New Zealand representation in the country before that. The relationship now includes regular political-level consultations, a large development assistance programme, defence co-operation activities and a network of commercial and business linkages. Up to two and a half thousand New Zealanders are estimated to live and work in PNG.
There are regular high level visits between the two countries. Amongst other contacts, in recent years Foreign Ministers have met to discuss regional and international issues of interest, and to promote developments in the bilateral relationship.
New Zealand and PNG share common views on a range of international issues and co-operate actively in the many multilateral and regional bodies in which we are both members. New Zealand played a pivotal role in establishing the “Friends of PNG” group, which was instrumental in offering international support to the country during its financial crisis in mid-1999.
In trade, PNG is New Zealand’s second largest market in the Pacific region with our exports to December 2011 valued at $217 million.
Defence co-operation between New Zealand and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is conducted under the Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP). A number of PNGDF personnel receive staff and trade training in New Zealand at Waiouru or through attachments to the Officer Cadet School. A New Zealand Defence Attaché is based in Port Moresby. A NZDF officer is also currently serving as Deputy Chief of Staff in PNGDF HQ.
Papua New Guineans are able to work in New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. In 2011 six Papua New Guineans worked in New Zealand under this scheme.
New Zealand’s official development assistance allocation to PNG for the 2011/2012 financial year is NZ$27 million. The New Zealand Aid Programme is focussed on sustainable economic development through improving livelihood opportunities for people in rural areas and improving education opportunities to support engagement in the formal economy. The programme also makes provision for assistance to Bougainville, primarily community policing and building the capacity of the Bougainville administration. A team of seven New Zealand police advisers are stationed in Bougainville to provide capacity building to the Bougainville Police Services and Community Auxiliary Police.
PNG also benefits from NZ$7.1 million in funding through the New Zealand Aid Programme’s regional programmes that are focused on law and justice, governance, environment, health, education and trade/economy; and through the New Zealand Aid Programme's support to regional agencies such as the University of the South Pacific, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the Forum Fisheries Agency, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Programme. This brings the total allocation for PNG to NZ$34.1 million in 2011/12.
NewZealand made a significant contribution to the Bougainville peace process in the 1990s and contributed to subsequent truce and peace monitoring missions.
The peace process culminated in the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in August 2001. This was given legal effect in PNG through the unanimous adoption of the 2002 Bougainville Peace Agreement Act, which provides for greater autonomy for the Bougainville within the PNG state and a referendum on Bougainville’s future political status sometime between 2015 and 2020.
In 2005 the direct election and inauguration of the first Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) under the leadership of President Joseph Kabui marked an important point in the Bougainville peace process. Following Kabui’s sudden death, further Presidential elections were held in December 2008, won by James Tanis. Former Governor of the Bougainville Interim Provincial Government (2000-2004), John Momis, was elected President in May 2010.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Papua New Guinea [external link].
New Zealand citizens require visas to visit Papua New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea citizens need a visa to visit New Zealand.