Friday, 30 November 2007 9:36 AM

Opposition MPs Locked Away Like Prisoners: Ne'e

More MPs who defected to the opposition recently are starting to realise they can switch sides again.

Government Caucus Chairman, Nelson Ne'e, who has been coordinating efforts to bring MPs back to join the government, told Radio New Zealand International that the Opposition has locked away its MPs at the Honiara Hotel to shelter them from government lobbying.

His comments follow the recent defection of two MPs, Peter Boyers and Johnson Koli, to take up Ministerial portfolios this week.

Mr. Ne'e told Radio New Zealand International that the Opposition MPs are being locked away "as prisoners, and it's not on with us".

"Our government is open, it's the government of the nation," he is quoted by Radio New Zealand International as saying.

The latest defections have lifted the government's number to 25 of the 48 held seats.

Meanwhile, the new Minister of Finance, Peter Boyers, refutes criticisms leveled against him for his move to the Sogavare-led government.

Opposition Spokesman for Finance, Edward Huni'ehu, criticised Mr. Boyers as lacking credibility as a leader by not living up to principles.

However, Mr. Boyers said his decision followed assurance from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare that government was willing to address his concerns.

Mr. Boyers said his decision was made in the interest of the nation.

He said that he can only join the government with a policy that reflect no more guns policy, no re-armament of the police force and that RAMSI must be maintained under the present arrangements.

"... with the two conditions, the Prime Minister agreed and put in writing, giving me confidence ... that the country will remain the same," Mr. Boyers said.

The new Finance Minister also wants the government to resolve the issue of Moti's illegal landing at Munda in Western Province.