Indigenous Commercial Ambitions and Decentralisation in Papua New Guinea: The Missing Driver of Reform

SSGM In Brief

Author/s (editor/s):

Scott MacWilliam

Publication year:


Publication type:

Discussion paper

This Discussion Paper argues that the initial mid- 1970s establishment of provincial governments as forms of decentralised authority has been misunderstood. Anthony Regan, to cite one instance, has argued that there was intended to be ‘a radical redistribution of power, requiring the creation of new centres of power able to act as a counterbalance to the central government as well as operate as new arenas for resolution of local tensions and disputes’ (1992:9). Instead, here it is argued that the principal determinant of the constitutional reforms was the continuing drive by indigenes to open up space in the postcolonial state so that their hold on political power could be transformed into commercial opportunities.

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