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THE wild man of PNG politics, Ron Knight, likes to keep crocodiles under his seaside bar on Manus Island - but he's discovering that Port Moresby's political sharks are also dangerous.
After speaking out last week against how Kevin Rudd's PNG solution is being managed in Manus, the rookie MP says political retribution may be coming his way.
As locals vent their fury over not being included in detention centre contracts, Mr Knight, 47, who was elected to PNG's national parliament as Manus' MP last year, said it was possible he would lose his government posting as the vice-minister for trade.
"I had to make a choice: do the right thing for my people and lose the position or look after myself and lose my people,'' he said. "But what is right is right and wrong is wrong and there is no grey in between.''
Mr Rudd's sudden deal with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to expand Manus' asylum-seeker facilities has triggered a wave of shadowy dealmaking among PNG politicians as they carve up the spoils of $400 million extra in aid grants and project contracts which are already worth more than $300 million.
An influential tribe, which controls land around the temporary centre on an old military base, is also threatening to cut off water supply and block entry points.
Mr Knight, whose New Generation Party is part of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's government, is making political enemies by insisting that Manus people receive a fair share of work contracts, rather than menial jobs paying 3 kina an hour.
He also described as "miserable" the PNG government's commitment to allocate between 18 million kina and 24 million kina to Manus infrastructure development, which will be matched by Ausaid moneys.
He is no longer on speaking terms with Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin, who locals have accused of "running scared" by trying to balance the interests of Mr O'Neill and the Manus community.
Mr Knight, who grew up in Manus after his father, an Australian Navy sailor, and his Bendigo-born mother settled there in the 1960s, owns a local stevedoring business and has eleven children to seven women.
"This has already caused so much trouble and it will probably get worse - we could see big protests outside the (detention centre) gates before long,'' he said.
"It's takes a lot to make Manus people angry - not like Highlanders who go from hot to cold quickly - but it also takes a long time to cool Manus people down.''
Mr Knight's life has been a Pacific adventure - diving off the wrecks of US warships as a kid, spearfishing marlin and wrangling crocodiles.
But if his political career becomes a casualty of the hot-button asylum-seeker issue he won't be too worried.
"I have my food in front of me,'' he says, pointing to the sea in front of his home and bar. "In the end, as long as my kids can go to school and I can go spearfishing, I'm happy."