The PNG Country Party is the result of earlier political developments prior to the Independence of Papua New Guinea. There were attempts in 1964 to 1968 in formation of political parties. A meeting was held in Port Moresby and a Territory Country Party, organized along the Australian Country Party was formed in 1967.
However, this Party never entered into any election nor its leadership progressed. The connection between Australian Country Party and political parties in PNG was through the Compass Party (later United Party). Despite talks and media release, the Compass Party was formed in Minj in 1967 by certain expatriate and indigenous Members of the House of Assembly who were aligned with the farmers and planters association , the Highlands Farmers & Settlers Association Incorporated (HFSA). Members of HFSA in Parliament were Ian Downs, Highlands Special (President of HFSA), John Watts (WH Regional), Mike Casey (Kainantu), Sinake Giregire (Goroka) (first indigenous member of HFSA). The prominent national being Giregire and Members from Simbu and EH.
After its formation, Tei Abal (Wabag) was appointed its Leader with Giregire as Deputy. The United went into 1968 Elections and returned as a force against the pro independence, Pangu Party. As the Partyy was conservative, most of its Members were appointed Ministers and Vice Ministers. The Party went again to the polls in 1972 and returned and with the self government in 1973, Tei Abal and Sinake Giregire and Paul Langro were on the Constitutional Planning Committee.
The third Party was the Peoples Progress Party under Julius Chan (Namatanai). At this time, the Australian Country Party sent an officer to PNG to work on establishment of a party. This was going on in Goroka and there were talks of a Country Party. The Party Country Party was formally recognized on the floor of Parliament in March 1974 under the leadership of Sir Sinake Giregire (MP for Goroka and later Daulo) and Michael Pondros (Manus).It policy was focussed on the Eight Point Plan of the PNG Government with its emphasis on development of agriculture, sustainable use of resource, rural development and economic growth with urban centers as service centers.
The role of Country Party featured prominently in the Constituent Assembly when it was more or was taking the lead in the Nationalist Pressure Group (Momis, Kaputin and Giregire) who wanted to present the CPC Report as it is to become the Constitution and on one hand Somare and Pangu who wanted amedments such as dropping the Provincial Government system.
At its announcement in 1974, it has up to 14 members in Parliament. At adoption of Constitution and election of the first Governor General, its Leader Sinake Giregire contested with Sir John Guise to be defeated by 3 votes in 1975.
When Guise resigned to contest the National Elections, the Country party nominated Tore Lokoloko (Kerema) who was elected the 2nd Governor General.
The Party contested the 1977 Elections with candidates in almost all electorates. Giregire had intended to contest the position of Prime Minister. However, Pangu Party returned with majority and combined with PPP to form the Government.
Country Party, United Party and National Party were seen as a Highlands dominated Party. It contested in 1982 Elections but lost it including its Leader, Sinake Giregire.
In 1987 Elections, no candidates were returned. During the 1987-92 term of Parliament, Peter Kuman (Kundiawa) joined the Party and lead the Party to 1992 Elections but with no members returned. The result was same for 1997 Elections, with leadership of Dekot Koki, plantation owner and former Chairman of Coffee Industry Coproration Board.
In 1997, Silas Atopare was elected Governor General of PNG. he was a Country party Member for the Goroka Open from 1977 to 1982. This brought some interest towards the re-organization of the Party. In 1998, some University of PNG students wanted to resurrect the ailing and historical party. They realized that despite being recognized on floor of Parliament and by the Electoral Commission, it did not have an administrtiave and operational capacity and was involved only in Parliament. Party was formally incorporated with Registrar of Associations as PNG Country Party and its Executives:-
President - Sir Sinake Giregire Vice President - Sameul Si-i Secretary - Wilson Orlegge Thompson Treasurer - Nigel Lai Public Officer - Thomas Solepa
In 2001, the enactment of the Organic Law on Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates provided the opportunity as it did to other political parties to give formal and opertaional capacity.
It formally registered with the Commission for Political Parties and Candidates. In 2002, it went again into the National Elections under the Leadership of Sir Sinake Giregire. He came third in his former seat of Daulo and the new MP in Parliament was Hon. Dickson Maki, (Kompiam Ambum, Enga). In 2005, Hon. Jamie Maxtone-Graham was elected in By Election for Angalimp South Waghi , WHP and joined the Party.
The party went to the 2007 National Elections under leadership of Hon, Jamie Maxtone-Graham, MBE and returned with two Members of Parliament, Hon Jamie Maxtone-Graham, MBE and Hon. Jim Nomane, (Chuave, Simbu). The PNG Country Party is a minor Coalition partner in the National Alliance party led Government.
The Leader is Chairman of the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS whilst Deputy Leader , Jim Nomane is Chairman of Re feral Parliamentary Committee.
The current National Executives (2009) of the Paryy as per the Organic Law are its Office Bearers and its Parliamentary Caucus being :-
1. President - Sir Sinake Giregire, CSM, CBE, MBE 2. Treasurer - Nigel Lai 3. Secretary and Public Officer - Wilson Orlegge Thompson 4. Parliamentary Ledaer - Hon Jamie Maxtone-Graham, MBE, MP 5. Deputy Leader - Hon. Jim Nomane, MP
Initial Membership Fee is K5 and Annual Renewal is K3. The membership fee reflects the Party ideology as a rural and green based membership protecting cultures, heritage and the development of primary industries as the basis of economic development, growth and prosperity. This can be deposited at any BSP Branches into PNG Country Party BSP Account No.8202- 1001270085 detailing your name. You can then email or write to us informing us of your contact address and your electorate.
Being a member of a political party will allow you to have a say in the running of the Party, its policies and objectives and in electing its Executives and in endorsing candidates in Elections. It will give you a voice in the choice of candidates at elections and in at the Government level in raising policy issues.
The PNG Country Party was formed in 1967 but formally recognized on the floor of Parliament in March 1974 under the leadership of Sir Sinake Giregire (MP for Goroka and Daulo) and Michael Pondros (Manus).It is not a Highlands nor any regional party but based on its ideology. It is one of the long established Parties and has been consistent with its policy on development of agriculture, sustainable use of resource, rural development and economic growth with urban centers as service centers.