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We changed the nation, says O’Neill

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By GYNNIE KERO. The National PNG

FORMER Prime Minister Peter O’Neill
FORMER Prime Minister Peter O’Neill

FORMER Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, pictured, has defended the record of the government he led up to May, saying “we changed the nation by building infrastructure needed”.

He also condemned plans by the current government to cut back on expenditure in the Supplementary Budget to be tabled by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey on Thursday.

“Ian Ling-Stuckey condemns the eight years of economic management under myself, James Marape as Finance Minister and Patrick Pruaitch as Treasurer,” O’Neill said.

“This is just political opportunism from the treasurer and is causing a great deal of internal conflict in Cabinet.

“No one can deny that we changed the nation by building the infrastructure our country badly needed.

“Cabinet with James and Patrick saw a rise in debt. But you just have to look around and ask if we advanced the country.

“Did we build the infrastructure that Port Moresby needed – roads, bridges, the flyovers and port facilities? Yes we did.

“Around the country, did we build new hospitals and care centres? Did we build teacher training colleges? Did we build new air strips? Yes we did.”
He said the supplementary budget “appears to be a turn-out-the-lights budget”.

“This ridiculous cost-cutting for the sake of politics will bring our country to its knees and hurt our people who are in the most challenging circumstances,” he said.

He said Ling-Stuckey had claimed that under his management of the economy there would be no more debt.

“But Prime Minister (Marape) overruled him and said debt would be consolidated in Australia and China,” O’Neill said.

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