Kainantu MP William Hagahuno Sunday abandoned his United Resources Party in the Papua New Guinea Government coalition and crossed the floor to the Opposition, saying he could no longer be part of the Government.

Kainantu MP William Hagahuno says his decision to resign from the Government was based “on my own conscience”.

“Like many of my colleagues, I would like to remain in the Government which is more advantageous for the people of Kainantu,” he said.

“(But) I could no longer continue in the Government while our people are facing serious and severe hardships than ever before.”

He is a member of the United Resource Party led by Hagen MP William Duma – the second biggest party in the Government coalition.

“I couldn’t wait around for the DSIP or PSIP or a few projects here and there,” he added.

“The time has come for me to seriously reconsider and decide whether I should continue to be a member of this Government or make a move.

“I decided I must move to the alternative camp. And I must state clearly that the decision was not an easy one, considering that my party is in the Government as a senior coalition partner, and especially at this time in our political calendar in PNG.”

He said his priority was the welfare and interests of the people of Kainantu.

“It is their welfare and the welfare of our children, now and into the future. I believe this is the underlying statement for leadership in this nation.”

He announced his resignation in Port Moresby Sunday flanked by Sinasina-Yongamugl MP Kerenga Kua, Abau MP Sir Puka Temu, Middle Fly MP Maso Hewabi, North Fly MP James Donald, Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill, Ambunti-Drekirkir MP Johnson Wapunai and Hiri-Koiari Keith Iduhu.

O’Neill commended him for “taking this courageous decision”.

“It is not easy to leave Government and to go and join an Opposition especially when you are going through a difficult time in the history of our country,” O’Neill said.

“I’m very proud to see new members and young leaders taking up this challenge.

“We are here to support them and help them along the way, and making sure that we are together to hold the Government accountable.”

Kua said “without an effective opposition, we don’t have a democracy”.

“There must always be an opposition no matter how few the numbers may be,” he said.

“The numbers are slowly growing.

“We have a serious intent to grow the numbers to a point where we can be able to file a motion of no confidence at the appropriate time we feel we have achieved the numbers.”

And as the momentum picks up for a possible vote of no confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister James Marape, with the Pangu-led coalition government’s grace period ending on Friday, Chimbu MPs Kerenga Kua and James Nomane last Friday met with New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan in Port Moresby.

Parliament will resume next Tuesday, 13 February.

At the Port Moresby home of Sir Julius, Kua, who is National Party’s parliamentary leader and immediate past minister for Petroleum and Energy, told Sir Julius as the last man standing of the founding fathers, that he felt duty-bound to tell him in person the reasons for resigning from Government a week ago.

Kua told Sir Julius he felt insulted by Prime Minister James Marape when he split the Petroleum and Energy ministry in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, leaving him with Energy when he had done the most work in Petroleum.

Petroleum was handed to the ruling Pangu Pati’s Jimmy Maladina.

Marape last week also acknowledged the contributions of Kua after his resignation.

Kua told Sir Julius that during an hour-long meeting, Marape had asked him to reconsider his resignation and that he would be given back his Petroleum ministry.

“I told him that was not possible as I had consulted my people and my party. They had given me their go-ahead (to resign). So there was no turning back at that point,” Kua said he told Marape.

Sir Julius said simply: “Congratulations on your resignation. It’s a big loss, you know. A big loss for the country.”

Chuave MP Nomane, who was one of the first to resign from Government, told Sir Julius that there was no honour in the Government any more.

Sir Julius, incidentally, was made Prime Minister in the first-ever motion of no-confidence against the Pangu government of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare (now deceased) in 1980.

However, in previous conversations, PM Marape had emphasised that he wasn’t too bothered about the no-confidence motion, and wanted to focus on working for the country.

From past experiences, the process of a vote of no-confidence in PNG would be a lengthy process.