LANDOWNERS of the US$161million site of what’s going to be the largest tuna processing zone in the South Pacific wants work on the site to stop immediately.

In a petition signed by 5,000 people and sent to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, landowners of Bel and Ari villages claim the project is illegal and unsustainable. They cited five main reasons for their petition, chief among them was the lack of consultation and environmental concerns the massive Pacific Marine Industrial Zone poses.

Earthworks on the 215-hectare site located in Vidar, 30 kilometres north of Madang have begun already, with construction to be done in two phases under PNG Government and Chinese funding.

“We now call on the Right Honourable Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister and Honourable Jim Kas, the Madang Governor for the Government of PNG to stop the PMIZ project,” landowners demanded in their petition.

“The Madang Provincial Government [should] immediately uses its administrative powers to stop all survey, construction and any other work associated with the PMIZ development.

“The Ombudsman Commission [should] conduct a full investigation into the expenditure of K30 million (US$10.151m) and any other additional funds by the national government or its agencies on the PMIZ development so far.”

Landowners went on to add that if their demands were not heeded, they would “see other necessary means to stop this project.” They said as owners of the PMIZ site, they have not benefitted from it and neither was their consent granted for their land to be used in the first place.

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