Fri, 09 Jun 2023

Coronation travel cost prompts public backlash in Papua

Robert Besser
14 May 2023, 00:09 GMT+10

SYDNEY, Australia: The media in Papua New Guinea has been decrying the cost of close to $1 million to taxpayers for some 30 officials who travelled to London for the coronation of King Charles.

"Insane number of delegates for overseas trips, for so called meetings, yet no funds for basic human rights services," wrote Esther Kila on the PNG Post Courier website.

In a statement, Government House official secretary Bill Toraso denied media reports that the governor general's office had spent $825,000, but confirmed to Reuters that 10 of its staff had travelled to London, in addition to 10 guests.

This was in addition to the governor general, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, his wife and Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

PNG values its "close and historical ties we as a nation share with the monarch, as our head of state," Toraso said, as quoted by Reuters.

Additionally, Tkatchenko said he was asked by Prime Minister James Marape to attend the coronation, and his invitation from Buckingham Palace had included a spouse and he had taken his daughter in her place.

Two staff members travelled to London, where he held meetings with British ministers. "It was a very productive and historical visit," he said.

Driving up costs was the strength of the pound, worth four-times the local currency, he added.

The British High Commission in Port Moresby was monitoring the public backlash, an official said.

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