‘Governance is Political in Papua New Guinea’

by Dr Bill Standish, Visiting Fellow in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

Governance is Political in Papua New Guinea” was first published in IBS Journal of Business and Research, Volume 6 (January 2013) by the Institute of Business Studies, Port Moresby.

‘Governance’ is governing– what governments do, however well they do it. Discussions
about governance tend to focus on issues of corruption, or on administrative processes,
whereas political structures and processes are often ignored. This paper argues that
governance is a highly political topic, and cannot be examined solely in administrative
terms. Economic structures also determine the activities of state and affect governance.
The consequences of poor governance are a decline in public welfare, unpopular
government and loss of authority for the state. Not only do most provinces in Papua New
Guinea lack sufficient funding and staff for their range of responsibilities, but they suffer
from a political structure which is quite dysfunctional. This paper points towards the
need for a frank and fearless review of political and provincial governance structures,
without ejecting ‘the baby with the bathwater’.

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