By Scott Waide


This just came from scribes in Parliament: Parliament has just passed a new law stopping landowners from interfering with developing companies like Ramu Nickel and LNG. This effectively stops landowners from expressing how they feel about developing projects.

Ten from the Opposition voted against it. Seventy three voted for it.



Update 31/05/10:

We’ve got a copy of the amendments here, but its not a great copy. See here


Update 10/06/10

Please see attached the Prime Minister’s Media Release on the matter here


Update 16/06/10

From Scott: Sumkar MP, Ken Fairweather has made a stand against changes to the environment act. He tendered his resignation to the speaker today. 

He is the  first Madang leader to speak on  the  issue.  Fairweather  is a member of the People’s National Congress (PNC) party and they are having a meeting to form a policy on the environment.

He is in Port Moresby and can be contacted on mob:  71209092.


Update 16/06/10



Two Madang organizations have called on Papua New Guineans all over the country to join the “NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST” against changes to the Environment Act starting on June 23rd.

The Madang People’s Forum (MPF) and the Bismark Solomon Seas Indigenous People’s Council (BSSIPC) will lead a protest march in Madang to mark the start of a series of protests throughout the country.

John Simoi, Chairman of the BSSIPC said: “For far too long, Papua New Guineans have been trampled on by a government serving it’s own interests. It is time Papua New Guineans stand up and make their own voices heard.”

He added: “The law change only serves to protect the interests of multi-national corporations, in particular, the Ramu Nickel Mine which plans to dump its tailings into Madang’s Basamuk Bay.”

In light of Sumkar MP, Ken Fairweather’s resignation, The Madang People’s Forum has also called on other Madang MP’s to listen to what their people are saying. President, Alfred Kaket is also challenging the Madang governor to take the people’s side.

He said: “Governor Amet must understand that we the people of Madang voted him into office, it wasn’t the National Alliance Party.”

The dictatorial move by the government is a direct response to petition signed by 7000 people from all over Madang.

The protest march is also being supported by the Morobe based Union of Watut River Communities who are planning another march in in Lae.


Alfred Kaket – Madang People’s Forum (MPF)
Mob: 7293 6635

John Simoi – Bismarck Solomon Seas Indigenous People’s council (BSSIPC)
Mob: 7281 4064

Reuben Mete – Union of Watut River Communities
Mob: 7107 5449

George Ireng – Anti-DSTP Campaign
Mob: 7349 9437



  1. What? Is this true? If it is, then who thinks up such garbage and is it Constitutional? How does it gel with our constitutional right to freedom of expression? How could something major like that simply fly under the radar and into the devil’s house for passage? Please tell me it’s not true!

  2. David, do you feel the pain where this is leading to?Effectively this is what the Parliament has done,it has told the landowners to comply or else.Are we becoming another African or Asian country?

    But then again we claim in our Constitution that we are a Christian Country; I pretty sure Christians will take to praying.But just praying and no action does will not solve anything.So,where to and what next? We must comply with the latest Bill passed by those living in that evil spirit house.

    Really,what and where is this(BILL) taking us ordinary PNGs to.We will just have to say; “YES Minister,NO Minister from here on.How sad and pathetic!!

    1. From Scott:


      The first two paragraphs are explanatory notes stating why the changes to the Environment act 200 should happen. Third paragraph is part of the law while the fourth to the seventh paragraph are explanations of the law changes. Paragraph 6 & 7 are interesting.



      3) The original section s. 69 under the environmental act 2000 reads as follows: 69. STAY OF OPERATION OF ORIGINAL DECISION.

      (1) Where an application is made for review of a decision, and the operation of the decision of the Director is not suspended in accordance with Section 68(2), the applicant may apply to the National Court for a stay of operation of the decision.

      (2) Where the Court is of the opinion that a stay of operation is necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the review, the Court may order that operation of the decision be stayed.

      (3) A stay has effect for the period stated by the Court and may be subject to any conditions that the Court thinks fit.

      (4) The period of a stay shall not extend past the time when the Council reviews the decision and any later period the Court may allow to enable the applicant to appeal against the Councils decision in relation to the review.

      4) They have added a new section 69A authorizing the Director (wari iamo) to authorize carrying out of specific acts,( including but not limited to those listed in section 42) and are not part of the initial conditions of the permit, notwithstanding anything in any other law in force before or after this amendment

      5) Then they add a new section 69B that merely states once this authorization in s.69 A is given, the permit holder is entitled to carry out these activities, and such carrying out of work or activity does not constitute a civil cause of action, whether in tort or other law, and it is not an offense, and it is not unlawful….

      6) they have added a new section 87A which says Wari Iamo can grant “exemption certificates” to permit holders that effectively states certain activities not included in the authorizing instrument (permit )but was carried out is an “exempt operation” provided the activity was carried out in accordance with the original authorizing instrument.

      This section further states the granting of exemption certificates, the director is NOT bound by any law requiring authority or consent or approval etc…

      7) The director’s decision is final and cannot be challenged in any court of law!

      8) They have also included in s. 87B that a holder of a authorizing instrument (permit etc..) may apply for a “best practice certificate” basically stating the methodology they have used is or proposed to be used is the best standards or best practice standards available( whether engineering, environmental or otherwise)….

  3. Emmanuel,

    Goodness! I will have to get someone to explain in everyday English majority

    of the ‘Summary and Notes of the Amendments’, that you have right now in the blog .

    Mind boggling stuff , what will landowners and PNGs do about this, just sit back and see what happens next?

    1. Judy yes it is a bit legalistic as it is, I’m still waiting for a friend to send through the legislation so I can read it in its entirety before giving my thoughts.

      But sounds to me like the legislation is attempting to give powers over the courts for specific court decisions relating to legally issued licences for resource development.

      I’ll have to see the entire legislation with amendments for myself before speaking further on it.

    2. Simply the reason of objections of the local landowners was that the Nickle mine waste was doing harm to their Enviroment.

      The amendments and argument as usual have nothing to do with the real facts.

      In fact Dr Wari Iamo who has no present instrument or mandate with the DEC,
      has moved aside from his ‘supposed’ job of secretary for DEC and has now moved in with the Chinese Nickle company who are destroying that part of PNG’s enviroment.
      It is so typical of this idiot Wari Iamo and this PM should be ashamed of leaving this imposter in as Secretary of DEC , Chairman of Forestry, and now the new Chairman of the Office of Climate Change.

      Never or less the ‘Westminster’ system was brought forward to protect a ‘country’ from the Crowne , Parliament and Church from confusing or corrupting each other.
      The delivery of this ‘Bill” is the most simplest challenge as it has no legs in ‘Parliament’ and the no confidence would now apply.
      I would say that they already have a ‘belly full’ meaning the Chinese have paid them.
      That is why 73 put their hands up because Wari Iamo has said if you dont their is no more money.

      How could these people be allowed to lead a country under these circumstances?

  4. With this ammendment being passed, it is simply inevitable we will see the possibility of another Bougainville crisis arise. Ramu nickel can easily construct a tailings dam and proper waste processing facilities instead of the proposed deep water disposal system….we can refer to a similar case from New Caledonia where the locals have taken the law into their own hands and demanded higher equity in the project………….

    It is sad to see that Mr Somare the grand chief puppet of China and his NA gang are becoming mere servants of the Chinese government and I wonder whose interests they serve? The people of PNG or their wealthy buddies in China. Freedom to the people….Next thing you know, they will begin land mobilisation again…..they enshrine themselves with wealth while the poor suffer…….

  5. The PNG government has on Friday the 28th of May 2010
    introduced new environmental legislation into Parliament that
    contains the following clause;

    “The director’s decision is final and cannot be challenged in any court
    of law!”

    This clause in effect, nullifies any future, possible court action by
    landowners who may try to protect their environment by way of a court

    The PNG Parliament has voted 73 – 10 to stop any further injunctions
    being issued, such as the one preventing the Ramu Nickel mine from
    annually pumping millions of tonnes of waste out into the sea off
    Madang until an environmental impact study is properly reviewed.

    On a positive note, at least 10 members had the guts and far
    sightedness to vote against the Bill. These 10 should be supported for
    their refusal to join a ‘lemming like stampede’ by other members to
    destroy their country and their children’s future.

    History will mark this action by the Somare government as
    ‘the point of no return’.

    The implications of this new legislation are very important and far
    reaching. It signifies that the Somare government now intends to
    effectively gag all future legal action over the environment by
    concerned PNG citizens. This is the ‘thin edge of the wedge’.
    By this action, the PNG government has shown that it clearly in future
    intends to ride roughshod over the rights of its citizens and their
    Constitutional legal system.

    This is the ‘thin edge of the wedge’. PNG’s Constitution is now directly
    threatened by the very person who helped write it and swore to
    uphold it. A large, ‘red flag’ has now been effectively raised that all
    PNG citizens should take particular note of.

  6. If a proposed law is regarded as being unconstitutional it can be challenged and knocked back by the Supreme Court. This has happened several times (eg Wenge’s challenge to the ECP.)

    It seems to me that this amendment could be so challenged.

    The preamble to the PNG Constitution says…

    “4. Natural resources and environment

    We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations.


    (1) wise use to be made of our natural resources and the environment in and on the land or seabed, in the sea, under the land, and in the air, in the interests of our development and in trust for future generations; and

    (2) the conservation and replenishment, for the benefit of ourselves and posterity, of the environment and its sacred, scenic, and historical qualities; and

    (3) all necessary steps to be taken to give adequate protection to our valued birds, animals, fish, insects, plants and trees.”

    There are many other references to the fundamental rights of landowners over the development of their resources and land.

    Source –

    1. Peter,

      Therein lies the nub of the problem. The inability of those who have a system being prepared to actually use it.

      The list of examples continues to grow. Motigate, Taiwan millions, no tax returns for many years, high level corruption, etc.

      Every time a major scandal is allowed to go unchecked it knocks another support out from underneath the so called ‘people’s house’. The credibility of the PNG Parliament has been eroded into it now merely being a rubber stamp for the Somare/Temu government to use when it wants.

      It is clear now the office of the Governor General is a politically appointed figurehead only and is beholden to the government of the day through the Speaker. The majority of the Haus Tamberan is clearly either unable to understand what they are voting for or hopelessly compromised. The Opposition appears ‘eggbound’ and can’t seem to obtain any ‘rubber on the road’.

      The PNG court system has been reduced to being deluged by vexatious litigation. The Police Commissioner is clearly not prepared to risk his position. The Chief Ombudsman either will not or cannot (though under funding), do anything. The Public Prosecutor appears unwilling to start proceedings. The Tax Office apparently won’t bring charges against those who haven’t submitted their tax returns for years. The list goes on and on.

      The PNGDF has now been reduced to the size of an ill-equipped school cadet corps but managed by a collection of highly paid, senior officers who apparently owe their appointments to political whim and not organisational necessity. One wonders if this has been done intentionally or through a complete lack of understanding the military rank structure.

      The PNG people are being conned by experts that have been allowed to develop their ‘modus operandi’ over many years. If the situation cannot be resolved by peaceful and Constitutional means, it gives rise to speculation what other means might be used if the PNG people ever become organised and united.

      Meanwhile, PNG’s nearest neighbours sit on their hands or put their metaphoric heads in the sands.

      The time will come when many people will say, “Why didn’t someone do something before this debacle got totally out of control?”

      But by then it will be too late.

  7. Peter 100% correct ,this matter would not only be challenged but easly won.

    The defence(the people of PNG)(of their own land) would also bring unconsitutional as only the first call of evidence as Wari Iamo has step over the line many times in the past with abusing the peoples and the Enviroments rights.

    First question has the DEC acted as this department should, under which capacity did the DEC forward this ‘Bill”.

    The people of PNG on behalf of their Enviroment according to the consitution should instruct a smart Lawyer to have this attempt of ‘Personal Corrupt Government Business’ charged by the Police, Wari Iamo as first defendent through to 73.
    Prepare submissions and cross examine the whole 73 plus Wari Iamo and simply ask , why they put their hand up.(at least 1 will say it is for the money)
    Then for a laugh they should be ordered to go for a swim were the waste is dumped then jailed if their still alive.

    Come on PNG this is not difficult and in fact if some one used their brains it could be the base line of cleaning and making a logical Government for its people (if that excists any where).

  8. Paul is right. The legal framework is there but the willingness or ability to honestly use it to prevent abuse and corruption is not.

    Reading the PNG Constitution again, it strikes me as a noble and excellent document written and agreed by wise heads. What happened to these people? I think of the “founding fathers” still alive, maybe only John Momis has not been tainted by corruption, but now his future lies with Bougainville rather than PNG.

    Remember the opening words of the constitution –

    ·united in one nation
    ·pay homage to the memory of our ancestors—the source of our strength and origin of our combined heritage
    ·acknowledge the worthy customs and traditional wisdoms of our people—which have come down to us from generation to generation
    ·pledge ourselves to guard and pass on to those who come after us our noble traditions and the Christian principles that are ours now.”

  9. Why can we not challenge the constitutionality of this nonsense? Let every person who is concerned about the implications of this act contribute our moneys together and hire the best lawyers around to seek legal interpretation of this shit and nullify it.

    We all want to see our natural resources being developed for economic returns and to help build our country. But we can not afford to over sacrifice our natural environment, on which a majority of our people depend for their livelihoods, in the process of exploiting these resources. It is a delicate balancing act and it is absolutely important that we get it right.

    The actions of those 73 individuals who gave their nod for this shit to become law portray a lack of appreciation of the deep linkages that Papua New Guineans have with the environment and mother nature. This action strikes at the core of our Papua New Guinean ways and must not be allowed to go unchallenged.

    1. here here, David.
      Contributions are willing everywhere as long as we have, the right lawyers who can understand instructions.

      and Peter.

      Question raised…. Is any court in PNG the appropiate jurisdiction for this matter to be challenged?

      as the amendment was to over rule or set aside any attempt to challenge in any jurisdiction, the ‘director’ then was the first and final word.

      In a battle we must always fight on a level paying field.

  10. Hi greenie cap,

    What else is left in the process of making it become a law and how can we stop it become law? Is the GG involved in the process at some stage? If he does, then I’d like to turn the heat up on him and ask him to refuse to ratify this nonsense. The GG’s have been mere puppets of the legislature and signing off on all and sundry that come before them. It’s about time someone stands up and does the job for which they are paid and stop being too idealistic and preaching to us. We are in the real world, for goodness sake, and it’s about time our GG gets real.

  11. I believe the Supreme Court is the appropriate and final place of judgment on the constitutionality of any law, so this is where it could have to be challenged. If a law goes against a provision of the constitution then the law can be judged invalid. The only way around this wold be to change the constitution – which is what the Maladina amendments are attempting to do.

    Reading the report in The National, this amendment is specifically targeting the Ramu tailings disposal injunction, which has severely pissed off the Government and their Chinese investor cronies. (see below)

    The point of the injunction against the Ramu tailings disposal work was precisely that a proper environmental impact assessment was NOT done in accordance with the law. Therefore Allan’s justification is hollow. The implications of this amendment are frightening, as Paul has pointed out. No one can challenge a development even if massive environmental damage results, as long as the Government can claim that permits were issued (which is of course blatantly open to corruption). Think what this means for logging and mining concessions which can now trample all over local landowners interests.

    “Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan told Parliament last Friday that the Environment (Amendment) Bill 2010 will supplement, give full effect to enable holders of environment permits to comply with the standards and requirements stated in their permits.
    He said the amendment would also mitigate risks associated with third party litigation, or lawsuits. He said a recent court decision against the state had exposed resource projects to the risks that environmental permits, granted by the state after satisfying legal and scientific requirements, might not be valid and enforceable.
    Allan said a third party (financed by special interest groups), although not a stakeholder in such projects, could now challenge the validity of an environmental permit and frustrate works and activities carried out in accordance with such permits and approvals.
    “The idea that this could happen, even though any such project had been operating within the terms of those permits, gives rise to a concern of national priority,” he said.
    “All major mining and petroleum projects (including LNG projects) are particularly at risk, whether they are already operating, in construction or have been proposed.
    “This represented a significant threat to the PNG economy and investor confidence; it is, therefore, a matter of utmost national significance.”

    The stupidest thing reported in the debate was the comment from Milne Bay Governor John Luke.

    “He said on deep sea tailings, he saw nothing wrong with it. Luke said Misima had used the same system and nothing bad had come out of it, as the tailings were dumped in waters that were too deep for fishing and diving.”

    Sure – dump Cholera infected sewage out of the reach of divers and fishermen and no one can ever catch Cholera! Has he even a rudimentary knowledge of environmental biology? Obviously not. The current oil spill in the US occurred miles too deep to affect diving and fishing, so that’s all OK then! Let’s just go ahead and dump millions of tons of cyanide-tainted mine waste in Astrolabe Bay and bugger the consequences!

    1. Campaign on the New Environmental Act” tomorrow.

      Event: Open Air Campaign on the New Environmental Act
      Start Time: Tomorrow, June 1 at 12:00pm
      End Time: Tomorrow, June 1 at 5:30pm
      Where: Town Market Madang
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Digicel Pacific

  12. From ActNowPNG….

    Government puts foreign interests above the law and demolishes an important democratic principle
    Posted by rait man
    By passing amendments to the Environment Act, the government has put foreign companies above the law; allowed their commercial interests to trample all over the rights of Papua New Guinea’s traditional landowners; and undermined our democracy by removing the fundamental protection of the separation of powers.

    On May 27th the government rushed through Parliament amendments to the Environment Act (see pdf document below) which give to the Secretary of the Department of Conservation new powers to approve activities by mining and petroleum companies without consulting traditional landowners or securing their agreement.

    This is a fundamental denial of the traditional rights of landowners but the changes to the law do not end there.

    FIRSTLY landowners are also being denied the right to challenge what the government allows mining and petroleum companies to do. The amendments allow the Environment Secretary to approve activities and any such approval is FINAL AND CANNOT BE CHALLENGED IN ANY COURT. So no matter how outrageous or unfair the approval, the people will have no way of challenging it.

    SECONDLY, and worse still, the amendments state that when the company carries out the approved activities it cannot be sued, whether in tort or any other law and the activities cannot be an offence and cannot be unlawful.

    This means that no matter what harm the company causes to any person or group of persons they will have no recourse to the law – even for an oil spill on the scale of that unfolding right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

    These two amendments effectively take away all a citizens traditional rights (rights developed over tens of thousands of years); common law rights (rights that the courts have developed over hundreds of years); and removes any criminal liability.

    Companies are effectively being given carte blanche to do what the hell they like and cause as much damage as they want and nobody can do anything to stop it or claim compensation.

    As if this were not enough, the changes to the Environment Act effectively remove the last pillar of our democracy.

    Democratic government is based on the separation of powers where the independence of the judiciary, executive and Parliament are closely guarded so that each can act as a check and balance on the other.

    Already, in PNG we have seen a fundamental weakening of our democracy with the loss of the separation of the Executive (Prime Minister and National Executive Council) and Parliament. As the government controls so many MPs Parliament has long ceased to be an effective check or balance on the policy and legislation put forward by the Executive, and with the increase in the number of Ministries to 32 the Executive already holds the numbers to constitute a quorum in Parliament without even informing the rest of the MPs.

    But our democracy survives, or has until now, because we still had recourse to the judiciary to challenge any action by the Executive or Parliament.

    But now the Executive has decided, and Parliament has approved, some Executive decisions shall be exempt from the scrutiny of the courts and thus all individual rights in respect of those decisions have been removed. This is totalitarian, unjust and undemocratic.

    The fact that the changes to the Environment Act were rushed through Parliament in a single day with no effective debate or scrutiny only serves to emphasize not only the loss of the separation between the Executive and Parliament, but also exactly why that distinction is so important in maintaining the other freedoms in our society and, crucially, protecting the independent scrutiny of the judiciary.

    This is occurring not just because many of our politicians are too stupid to know what it is they are doing, it is occurring because the executive has been captured by powerful foreign interests, in this case the Chinese State which owns the Ramu Nickel Mine and Exxon-Mobil (the most profitable corporation in the world and one whose PROFITS are larger than the economies of ninety-three nations).

    If you feel this is overly dramatic, then you need look no further than the preamble to the new Act which states,

    “The law is being made in light of the recent court decision [Ramu nickel mine] that has exposed resource projects to the risk that any permits granted by the state in satisfaction of legal and scientific requirements may not be enforceable… all major mining and petroleum resource projects (such as [Exxon Mobil] LNG) are particularly at risk affecting the economy and therefore a matter of national interest….”

    In PNG our democracy has been taken away and it is the Chinese and Exxon-Mobil who now set the rules by which our resources will be removed while we endure the social and environmental consequences without any recourse (except, of course, to what our Constitution reminds us never to lose, our unique and innate Papua New Guinean ways).

  13. More detail from the PC report today. New powers of DEC Director are far-reaching and unprecedented. Legal challenges to his decisions “barred”. Opposition say Government has sold out the people’s rights to foreign investors. Marat confirms laws may be unconstitutional and can be challenged in Supreme Court.

    “AGGRIEVED parties have effectively been prevented from taking legal action against questionable environmental approvals for major resource projects in the country by Parliament. In addition the Director of the Office of Environment and Conservation has been given wide ranging powers to grant exemption certificates, issue best practice certificates, issue certificates of necessary consequence and certificates of compliance.
    The Director’s powers are contained in additional sections to the principal Environment and Conservation Act 2000 which Parliament amended in a swift move that caught most Members unaware of the new changes on Friday.

    The Director’s decisions to issue the necessary complying certificates for all environmental project plans will be final and “may not be challenged or reviewed in any court or tribunal, except at the instigation of any aggrieved holder of an Athorisation Instrument.”

    “The Opposition says the amendments are directly and deliberately calculated to protect the Ramu nickel deep sea tailings dumping proposal, currently under legal challenge the environmental and landowner groups.
    Former Attorney-General and Justice Minister Dr Alan Marat, responded to the amendments saying it was open to legal challenge via an interpretation by the Supreme Court on its constitutionality. In an Opposition news conference which he attended, Dr Marat said there was nothing stopping Members, non-government organisations (NGOs) and landowners from seeking a Supreme Court interpretation of the amendments.

    Deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon, said the new laws were meant to protect the interest of investors at the expense of the environment and resources owners.

    He said the new laws were selling the rights of the people. He accused the Parliament as the legislative arm of government as having no respect for the judiciary which was still deliberating on legal challenges to the Ramu nickel environmental plan.”

  14. The US President has just sent the clean up bill for the current disastrous oil spill to BP. Apparently it’s BP’s responsibility to pay even though they were given permission to drill in US waters.

    So if, as is likely, given the results of the PNG government’s own environmental impact study and similar examples elsewhere (e.g New Caledonia), there is an environmental disaster from the Ramu nickel mine pumping millions of tons of toxic waste into the pristine sea off Madang, who would be held responsible? Who could be sued by those who may end up poisoned and hungry when their marine food stocks are destroyed? Who could wind up being responsible if the overland tailings pipe ruptures and spills toxic waste over farming ground and people’s crops?

    Clearly the owners of the Ramu mine would say that they were operating under the approved permit issued by the PNG government. Clearly the PNG government would also say that they were not to blame as they were relying on their own appointed and responsible representative not to issue an approved permit unless there was no likelihood of there being any disaster.

    So who would end up holding the parcel? Who might end up being held personally liable and sued by the mine’s owners, the government and his own people for being directly responsible for untold misery and potential deaths in his own country.

    It’s all rather a big Wari .. err. ..worry for any person who may have issued an ill considered permit.

    1. 100% correct Paul, this is the correct passage.
      The DEC (Wari Iamo) has decided to ‘Goven’ this transaction between Ramu, Landowners and the state, Question on behalf of who?.
      Ramu will eventually say Wari Iamo ‘but’ we gave you money to look after us!

      Wari Iamo is an enviromental and Governmental greedy corrupt idiot, study his previous form.
      As previously written not only the PNG Government are incompanet but its agenda in any office or minstery in PNG has nothing to do with the people or the Enviroment of the country.

      PNG is being raped as it always has by large foreign corporate,s and their PNG political servants.

      Should not the LNP and Ramu impact studies from Wari Iamo and DEC be reviewed and revisited immediatly, and could this be another passage of law that could be usefull to the ILG’s of PNG.(Tiffany)

      1. what should LNP and Ramu carbon offsets be?

        has the impact studies calculated their ‘footprints’ ?

        where are the ‘enviromental impact studies,? to suggest that the DEC can prove it knows what is doing.

        There soon will be plenty of PNG verified Carbon Credits for these foreign companies to buy.


  15. Challenge to new law as unconstitutional. Good on yer Tiffany!

    PNG landowners claim laws infringe human rights

    By Liam Fox
    4:00 pm

    A group of Papua New Guinean landowners has launched a legal challenge against environmental legislation claiming it infringes on their human rights.

    Recent amendments give the government unchallengeable power to grant environment permits to parties such as mining companies.

    The changes follow complaints from the mining industry after landowners won a temporary injunction preventing a Chinese-owned nickel mine from dumping waste into the sea off Madang.

    Those same landowners have now filed papers seeking to challenge the legislation in the supreme court.

    Their lawyer, Tiffany Nongorr, says the amendments are unconstitutional.

    “Various human rights guaranteed under the constitution are breached by this legislation,” she said.

    Prime minister Sir Michael Somare released a statement saying the amendments have not curtailed the rights of landowners.

  16. I hope they make an impact with this. Maybe they read the Masalai blog, as we were recommending a Supreme Court challenge last week!



    Press Statement on Amendment to Environment Act 2000

    Hon Benny Allen, Minister for Environment and Conservation clarified misunderstanding on amendments made to the Environment Act and subsequent Environment (Permit Transition) Regulation passed by Government last week in Parliament.
    The Minister said the Amendment is intended to give more clarity to the current saving provisions in the Environment Act 2000. The public will recall that during passing by Parliament of the Environment Act 2000, all development projects approved under the repealed Environment Planning Act 1978, the repealed Water Resources Act 1982, the repealed Environment Contaminants Act, 1978 needed to be saved and continue to operate as though they had environment permits issued under the Environment Act 2000.
    These development projects had followed due process under each of the repealed legislations and on satisfying the requirements of each of the legislation were approved. It will be irresponsible for the Government not to protect these investments and thousands of jobs created. To give more certainty to the investors of development projects and the various environmental approvals issued before coming into operation of the Environment Act 2000, the transitional and saving provisions became a critical section in the main legislation.
    The Amendment passed by Government last week will give added clarity to as well as remove doubts on the application of the saving and transition provisions in the Environment Act 2000. The Amendment in effect gives added certainty and confidence to development projects, who following due process, obtained relevant environmental approvals before the Environment Act 2000 come into operation.
    At the time of coming into force of the Environment Act, there were development projects in different stages of development. There were those in very advance stages of development where in the permit they are referred to be in the operation stage. There were projects in early years of commencement and are referred to in the permit as being in the construction phase. And there were project in proposal stage and have just been issued with approvals.
    The Transition and Savings provision there provides a guide to how these projects will be saved and rolled-over into the new Environment Permit arrangement. Conditions set out in the permits cover the various stages of project development to give added clarity and guidance to permit holders and the Department as the regulator on key parameters to manage, monitor and report on. As the project progresses to advance stages, some of the permit conditions become redundant and are no longer applicable. Permit conditions are then reviewed accordingly by the Director who has powers to call up permits and review conditions. Once issued, the permit is a contractual obligation that is reviewed and updated from time to time.
    The Minister added that all environmental approvals issued under the various repealed legislation are being rolled over into the new permitting arrangements in the Environment Act 2000. This exercise has been going on since the Act came into force. These development activities are allowed to continue to operate under a deemed environment permit saved by virtue of the transition and saving provisions. While the transitional and savings provision is adequate, many permit holders are seeking urgent and immediate roll-over into the new permitting arrangements under the Environment Act for fear of being non-compliant with PNG laws. The Department is managing the roll-over as provided for under the Environment Act and the Amendment is intended to give added clarity and comfort to those who have yet to be rolled-over into the new permitting system.
    The Public and particularly Environment Permit holders wanting more clarification regarding the Amendment can call the Department for more information.

    Approved for Release:

    Minister for Environment and Conservation

  18. What a classic example of Bureaucratise and Public Service ‘gobbledegook’. It was probably written by some high priced help and paid for by AusAID. A complete ‘snow job’ if ever I saw one.

    Someone tell me I’m wrong.

    1. correct a whole lot of rubbish you are not wrong,,should we now ask for the pre- enviromental impact studies done on behalf of the PNG Government, by the Australian Government and consultants to be studied and blogged for comment?

      Also why is the PNG DEC Enviromental Impact referal for the PNG Government and DEC not avalible for public viewing and comment before and present.
      If any one has this please attached it to this blog.

  19. This is a covert amendment.

    Sources told me that DEC does not even have a Waste Management Policy in place, though code of practices are tasked to carry out.
    The amendment was sponsored alias Justice Department. Chinese helped built Somare a kingdom, they need something from him. Somare being resource-less, paying his debts from the wrong backyard by dictating.

    The Saddest Moment in 35 years of Independence. Somare and his dynasty needs to go, plus his scumbags and wanglers.

  20. ‘Hear me out,’ said Sir Michael

    Under a newspaper heading ‘Sir Michael gives judiciary, NGOs and the media a tongue-lashing’, PNG PM Somare yesterday reportedly lashed out at his country’s judiciary, NGO’s and media over the delays in dealing with high profile legal cases and his government’s amendments to the Environment Act.

    Sir Michael is quoted as saying he is outraged at the constant delays in processing court cases involving himself, his son Arthur and former chief secretary Lupari.

    Yet could it not be said that Somare himself is the author of his own discontent? If his lawyers had not constantly raised objections and delays, surely these cases could have been dealt with in a timely manner? If he had provided sufficient resources to his own Ombudsman Commission to allow it to perform their proper role, these apparently irritating delays may not have occurred.

    On the issue of the Amendment to the Environment Act, Somare “accused the media of misinforming the public and described NGOs as an unelected group representing no one. He said the amendments were done after getting “the best advice from three best brains” (I wonder whose they were?)

    Sir Michael reportedly went on to explain that he himself had gone to China four years ago and convinced the Chinese government that they should invest K800 in developing the Ramu nickel mine. “The government will lose a lot. No country can come to PNG and put US$800 million on the spot” he is quoted as saying.

    Yet again Somare has only himself to blame. Why wasn’t there full and open debate on the Amendment prior to the vote being rushed through Parliament? Why hasn’t there been effective legislation passed to ensure the PNG people are protected by effective and robust environment laws? If there was effective legislation in place already, there wouldn’t be a need for the people to have to take their own legal action to stop the government and the developer from potentially destroying their environment?

    If Sir Michael did indeed convinced the Chinese to develop the mine, and not vice versa, why didn’t he use those four years to pass proper environmental legislation to protect his people. Why leave it up to them to defend themselves and then criticize them for doing it? There has been plenty of previous indications that this and other developments require effective legislation to protect PNG’s environment from being potentially destroyed.

    Clearly the PNG PM has been caught out and is behaving like a cornered animal, enmeshed in it’s own web of dishonourable deceit.

    So perhaps his country should either ‘hear’ or in fact see Sir Michael out?

    Err.. which way did he come in?

  21. Thank you wantoks for aggressively pinpointing the deceits of Somare & his cohorts. What Paul highlights is very true, in that the NA government is a dictatorial in its governance and there is zero concern for the people’s interest.

    So the chief thinks he has steered this country better?, by bringing more mining investment like Ramu Nickel and LNG and giving them tax holidays, the least he could do was protect this nations environment. PNG’s survival since ancestral days was a symbiotic one with the environment; harmonious.

    Why can’t the government accept the fact that they have erred? It’s like the LNG pipeline going to destruct the lobster and fishing industry along the Gulf coast and Somare’s advisors say the benefits of gas outway fishing industry. It may be true, but aren’t there any other options of laying the gas pipeline or we just have to go for cheapest. Why not build a gas Plant at Kikori or Hides Tari. I’m sure there options similarly to go for with the Basamuk tailings for the Ramu Nickel.

    While no developer will want to spend excessive expenses on such ventures, they will certainly make profits. Corporates do not invest without knowing they will make profit. Now, why is it that they have to come in at the cheapest option; if not, at the people’s expense such as holiday tax havens and covert environment advise?

    If only the government or successive governments for that matter can improve PNG financial management, I’m sure PNG will not be in dire need minning revenue, hence, sacrificing the nations interest. Somare say’s the environment amendment is in “the best interest of the nation,” what fuck load of shit incompetent departmental heads & bereaucrats would sell the country’s heritage for money, I see it as prostitution!

  22. Hi Kafu,

    as to why they can’t admit their mistakes, it’s human nature. Lord Gort summed it up with his comment about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

    On the Ramu Mine site it had an article by a qualified mining engineer who claimed that the PNG government had authorised the Ramu mine operation for a song and that it was worth many, many times over what the owners paid PNG in royalties. If that is so, Somare is merely mouthing what he has been told to say by the mine’s owners.

    PNG people must not let this issue with their government be allowed to subside into the mists of time or they will rue the day when other companies make the people’s wonderful homeland a wasteland or desert with their unfettered operations. No one should stop progress but it should be properly managed for the benefit of the people and their country as well as the developer.

  23. Thanks Paul,
    I say amen to you closing paragraph above. Puka temu in a recent interview said “democracy is vibrant in this country”. I think what he should have said was “democracy is vibrant in the countryside”.

    A little tweeter said an MP was boasting saying, “In Waigani we divide and rule and monopolize NEC or parliament, we MPs are minority but our welfare is of paramount importance, because we sour what PNG will reap, whatever dribbles down from our wheels & deals should benefit the people. We decide because we are in the government and we have authoritative POWER. We know whats better for PNG” end of quote…

    So, these dimwit clowns think they know better?!!! Maybe that’s why they do not want to seek other avenues for advise.

      1. read the PM’s media release.
        He is cornered and is looking for ground,his statements and this media release are very hard to believe.
        Its his own fault , how many times does Puka Temu change and alter office when the PM is out of the country, this will be the PM’s defence next week.
        It will be interesting where Wari Iamo goes from here.
        However the real disturbing issue is here is that the waste from Ramu is
        being pumped in the ocean. Tin minning causes unbelievable amounts of toxic waste, this waste is difficult to maintain “PROPERLY” and I can assure you any Chinese Tin Minning company in PNG does not do many enviromental things properly.
        I have seen the main land areas of China, their country is ‘sick’ and it is dying , most natural water is polluted, it is not offten to see birds in flight.
        The PM is now saying that “PNG”,s Enviroment and Conservation department would never advise PNG people or the PM incorrectly.
        He actually is now passing the ball to the DEC,Wari Iamo will have a lot of Enviromental explaining to do regarding his consultation to PM and the DEC Minister.
        Speaking of the DEC Minister (Benny), his comments on the situation are not what you would expect , a load of rubbish as already mentioned.
        The PM and DEC think they are doing the right thing , they are just stupid and bow to these Chinese who only want to make money for themselves for China, and who have turned this PM and MP’s into adicts of the under the table sling.
        I was supprised to be told that the new Grand Stand in Wewak has the Chinese sign of dominates on its roof , a perfect example of China’s agenda for PNG.

  24. PM, MPs and their advisers unfortunately left their ‘explaining’ until it was already too late. I saw the Attorney General and the assistant secretary to Dept of Env & Conservation trying to be sensible about the issue and explaining away on Kundu 2.

    The AG said there was nothing sinister about the amendments. I’ll tell him what’s sinister about it – the mad rush in parliament to pass the amendments in haste with nil debate by their political masters.

    Anyway there is a reference on its constitutionality currently pending in the Supreme Court and we shall wait and see its outcome.

  25. Did anyone read the ad at p38 of the National today – the Member for Sumkar Ken Fairweather took out an ad demanding that the Govt repeal the Environment (Amendment) Act 2010 ? He advised his constituents that he did NOT vote for the Bill and he said he is against the environmental destruction that the tailings and indeed PMIZ will bring. He then resigned from government today to sit on the middle benches. A brave man who has his constitutents’ interests at heart.

    1. Indeed a brave man. I take my hats off to him. Which other Madang MPs out there have the courage to stand up with Mr Fairweather?

      At least the governor should also make his stand known. He has been escaping attention by inviting his political colleagues to go and listen to the people’s grievances instead of listening to them himself. We are yet to see a story about him sitting down with his own people who chose him as their elected leader, listen to them and make representations on their behalf to the powers that be. He has been sitting on the fence for far too long.

      Perhaps he is too engrossed in the ‘big picture’ he can’t see the simple arguments put forward by his own people. Sad.

  26. Hi Peter – not so much related to, as married to !!!! He is my husband of 12 years. AND I didn’t know about his article until I read it in the newspaper ! Mind you, I think it is an excellent article and there is indeed a major constitutional crisis. But that is not my area at all, so the less said from me on that topic, the better !
    On another note, a report about Mr Fairweather’s actions was on EMTV tonight. Also on TV – I was just watching CNN was a panel being interviewed on the BP oil spill and one of the panelists was saying that this is what happens when the Regulator becomes too close to the Regulated – likewise in PNG our Dept of Environ doesn’t have the capacity to examine properly the environmental plans and designs of the developers and greatly relies upon the developers reports – so we see a similar situation here. BP was granted a certficate from their regulator to exempt them from review – and look what happened. And it is not hard to see how with this new law, similar incidents could occur here.

    Before when a miner/oil company wanted to add a new activity to its existing permit, there had to be an application for an amended permit – and really the whole permitting process would start again if it was a major amendment.

    Now, if there is to be some new activity – all the miner has to do is write a letter and the director writes back and authorises it and his decision is not reviewable or challengeable and can’t be stopped by the landowners and they are not consulted.

    Ok. Now also there are “exemption” certificates, and “necessary consequence certificates” and “compliance certificates” that have the effect of authorising otherwise not permitted activities and environmental harm and those certificates and authorisations and therefore ACTIVITIES are not subject to review.

    In a recent article from New Scientist magazine on the BP spill – the writer explains how despite warnings of potential problems with deep sea drilling, instead of making the process subject to review, the US department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service granted BP a “categorical exclusion” from all environment reviews under the US Environmental Policy Act. Such exclusions are MEANT to be for projects where, if any problems occur, environmental damage is likely to be minimal or non-existent.

    So clearly BP’s scientists told the MMS that there was little or no risk with its operation (like Ramu Nickel has) and it didn’t want to be interfered with by pesky “reviews”, so the dept granted it exemption from environmental review – AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU TAKE AWAY THE CHECKS AND BALANCES.

    This is EXACTLY what the new Amendments do – seek to remove the checks and balances of the Environmental Act for projects and protect the developer’s interests at the cost of the landowners and the environment – so for eg if a miner has a permit, if they do new things or act outside the permit eg and dump and cause environmental harm (little or no harm is authorised by their existing permit) – the director can give them an exemption certificate/authorisation/certificate of necessary consequence and bye bye reviews and checks and balances. They cannot be interferred with by pesky court reviews or landowner reviews.

    We all will just have to rely upon the Director to get it right. Every time. Not like the MMS of United States who got it so wrong. Of course PNG’s dept of Environment has so much more capacity to assess things things than their equivalent in America and will never get it wrong. Yeah right.

    The oil spill happened because a public servant gave an exemption certificate to cut out reviews.

    Scary, huh ?

    Regards, Tiff

    1. The bottom line is , you could not trust Wari Iamo , Benny Allan or any politician that supports this nickle waste being dumped into the ocean as raw and toxic as it is to be trusted with any enviroment anywhere.
      To add how could any Minister in his right mind quote in Parliment “that it is so deep that it might affect a few worms” absolute idiot.
      As I said before they should be made to swim in tailings dump area of the Bay.
      Wari Iamo and this Benny Allan and company have become the ‘biggest’ threat to the future of PNG , the Enviromental issues that will arise with this LNG project is going to be mind blowing,
      giving control of the PNG enviroment to these fools is like giving strawberries to pigs.

  27. This is very greatful and informatic helpful Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you? i want to book mark it !

    india tours, india tour packages, india tourism, india travel, indian tour, india travel packages, tourism in india!

  28. Thanks Tiffany. I remember your husband well from UPNG. He is a great PNG mind.

    You are right abut the consequences of decreasing regulation in the resources sector (mining, gas, oil). The US is seeing the consequences of this coming home with a vengeance. However if it happens in a developing country no-one seems to care. In Nigeria the oil industry has been causing devastation for many years and has leaked more oil each year than has leaked in the Gulf of Mexico and no one cares! The companies claim they don’t have any responsibility because the Government gave them the right permits! Is PNG going to become like Nigeria?

    See this excellent article in the UK Guardian –

    There is an important difference between legal responsibility and moral responsibility. Morality makes us human, legality (sometimes) just makes us rich.

    You and your husband have restored my faith in PNG lawyers after the Paraka business.

    Thank you again!

  29. Extract from a report in today’s National.

    More legal games from Gelu and Paraka to stop publication of the CoI into Finance.

    Makes you wonder whether the PM is really in control if his own report as tabled in Parliament can be challenged like this.

    What are the opinions of our lawyer friends on this site?

    “Meanwhile, two submissions were made by lawyers of former solicitor-general Zachery Gelu and lawyer Paul Paraka to seek leave of court to judicially review the decisions of the CoI and to further extend the court injunction.

    Their lawyers relied on 10 grounds in the leave application, which the main arguments raised was that the prime minister had no political responsibility over the departments of Finance and Treasury, Justice and Attorney-General, and the administration of the Public Finance Management Act, Audit Act and the Attorney-General Act respectively.
    Hence, the prime minister’s decision to set up the inquiry into the Finance Department and Department of Justice and Attorney-General were in breach of section 148 of the Constitution.

    Lawyers for Gelu and Paraka further submitted that the prime minister had also breached section 157 of the Constitution by appointing Justice Catherine Davani as a commissioner of the CoI, adding that Davani was directed to perform judicial functions outside of the national judicial system.

    They further argued that there were serious questions on whether the prime minister had breached section 2 of the CoI Act and other serious legal questions to be tried.

    State lawyers submitted that the leave application by Gelu and Paraka was made out of the prescribed time stipulated by the National Court Rules, and the facts and the purported grounds of the application did not disclose any serious legal issues that warrant review and determination in a substantive application.

    After hearing the submissions, Sevua reserved his ruling to a later date.”

  30. Environmental journalist Chris Lang has an interesting analysis of Somare’s speech to the Oslo Climate Conference recently. He points out that it appears as if PNG will scrap existing voluntary REDD schemes and replace them with a “top down assessment of funding by a mandated institution”. Couple this with the recent changes to the Environment Act and the stage is set for landowner rights to be swept aside and a new Government body set up to approve and manage REDD schemes.

    This has serious implications for REDD. If the PNG government declares a REDD project to be in the “national interest”, there may be no further recourse to the law for landowners affected by the project. South Pole Carbon Asset Management limited is likely to be involved. This is the carbon company involved in the April Salome scandal.

    Also one of Somare’s sons has opened a company to develop “avoided” deforestation REDD projects. Sound like a familiar pattern is developing of Somare interests stepping in and controlling the market.

    Where does this leave Nupan and existing schemes? Or the poor bloody landowners?

    1. Nupan is in a very strong position, because the Boss chose the right and only path.

      Any other, if being Somare’s son etc will have to find their own way through the same robust VCS process.

      In fact the Boss has said that we will now see a level playing field in PNG.

      Of course Somare’s son will have to find the peoples support.

      see,, South Pole statement in REDD Monitor.

      A very important issue is hovering for all those who count the chickens before they hatch.
      What is the potential buyers and world wide traders of PNG forestry credits opinion of PNG,, and how would this opinion affect 1the price 2 demand.

  31. Peter – couldn’t agree more with your comments re REDD. I don’t agree with voluntary schemes because the landowners are at the mercy of the developers and the Mr 10%. I think there has to be a regulatory body that sits between – but given the beformance of PNG Forest Auth on logging, dept of Environment etc – it just can’t be a body sourced from PNG public service alone. The would have to be a joint PNG/international regulatory scheme – but the international discussions are nowhere at the level where this could be achieved. My unasked for advice is to landowners to sit and wait for a proper regulated scheme – problem is voluntary schemes promise them the earth so people get sucked in – and hell, they have no other services so it is the only bright light. Meanwhile PNg govt is giving out permits to loggers and industrial logging is proceeding at a greater rate than ever before – it is all just so hypocritical. Tiff

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      then what scheme(standard)to you agree with ?

      Inaccurate statement , ‘landowners are at the mercy of developers”
      very unproffessional considering you have not seen the distrubution format.

      Question for you, How many Logging , Forestry projects in PNG’s history have generated and calculated ‘supposed’ kina to cubic meter of timber returns to the rightful ILGs who own those forest areas.

      Tiffany Voluntary does not mean pyramid.

  32. Here’s a frightening quote from Interpol about REDD schemes-

    ““Alarm bells are ringing. It is simply too big to monitor. The potential for criminality is vast and has not been taken into account by the people who set it up. . . . Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon market. . . . Fraud could include claiming credits for forests that do not exist or were not protected or by land grabs. It starts with bribery or intimidation of officials, then there’s threats and violence against those people. There’s forged documents too. Carbon trading transcends borders. I do not see any input from any law enforcement agency in planning Redd.””

    — Peter Younger, Interpol environment crimes specialist, October 2009

    1. Peter Young,

      It is important for good governace and protection agreed.
      The VCS standard eliminates much of illegal oppurtunities.
      I have studied comments at World Climate Change seminas by Interpol and others for the last 4 years.
      It seems that you require a portion of something>

      Again REDD and REDD+ do not excist ,,,and yes if it did your presents to police would be needed.

  33. The Government seems to sending mixed messages. Here’s a scheme already said to be approved…

    The National

    “April-Salome all set for carbon trading

    COMMUNITIES in the April-Salome Forest Management Area in East Sepik’s Ambunti-Dreikikir district will soon benefit from the country’s first pilot project on the reduced emissions degradation and deforestation (REDD) concept.
    Ambunti-Dreikikir MP Tony Aimo announced the project design document (PDD) for the Pacific’s first REDD pilot project has been completed and will be launched next month in his electorate.
    “This project was endorsed by the prime minister in 2008 and developed with technical government sectors and institutions, the stakeholders from the April-Salome communities and the Rainforest Project Management Ltd as the project developer, have all worked together to ensure the PDD is completed in time,’’ Aimo said.
    “The project has taken nearly two and a half years to complete. This was further endorsed by the joint district planning and budget priority committee and committed financial resources to support this community project.”
    Aimo said the district was committed and fully support the PM’s initiatives on the climate change programmes in country and globally.
    “The outcome of the project is targeted at communities meeting the aspirations of the integrated land groups of April-Salome people and meeting the objectives of the PNG Vision 2050.”
    He said the aspirations of the community include poverty alleviation through health, education, environment, and economic livelihoods to be achieved in the long term.
    “The project is currently undergoing pre-validation assessments to be completed by scientific certification systems by end of this month,” he said.
    Aimo said the April-Salome rainforest preservation project began in 2008 and had been developed to the internationally accepted climate community and biodiversity standards (CCBS).
    Aimo said following the pre-assessment, the PDD would be published on the CCBS website for 21 days for public comments.
    “It is envisaged the validation process will be completed by next month. The public is welcome to visit the site and provide comments on the PDD and its applications,’’ he said.
    “While the PNG government understands the importance of forestry and its multiple uses, sustainable development opportunities such as this will create positive impacts, especially for very remote communities.”
    He said the project was linked to the district’s 10-year development plan and captured it in the province’s corporate plan.

  34. REDD and REDD+ does not excist.
    Which methodology does this CCBA submission adopt?
    The whole April Salume (154)populas of ILG’s do not give consent.
    Did not Wari Iamo say that the PM does not support VCS.
    Rain Forest Management Ltd is a new name for ‘Earth Sky”
    “committed financial resources” is the most important statement.
    Tony Amio needs money and he thinks this is his oppurtunity for Government ‘project funding’.
    Does Tony Amio know what he is talking about.
    It will interesting to see the validators responce to this CCBA submission.
    By the way April Salume has been contracted to Nupan since December 2007.
    Governor Peter Warra and ILG’s has endorsed April Salume to Nupan.

  35. It says “This is to advise the Public… that your right to freedom of expression is now subsumed by this Court Case.”

    Chilling words.

    However it does not mention Internet chats, blogs, emails or comments. Maybe they just forgot.

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