The NSW Nationals have confirmed they will not run a candidate in the upcoming byelection, ending weeks of speculation and intense backroom negotiations with their Coalition partner.
In a statement released late on Friday afternoon, The Nationals said the decision not to stand against the Liberal Party and Labor in a three-cornered contest “should end the distracting media speculation”.
“Together, our parties have spent the past two terms rebuilding our great state after 16 years of Labor mismanagement and we have plans to deliver even more for the people of rural and regional NSW,” the statement said.
“But we cannot do that if we allow Labor to get into power, something that will be disastrous for our communities.”
The Nationals had repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility they would stand a candidate in the Wagga byelection, which will be called once Daryl Maguire officially resigns from the parliament.
Earlier this week they conducted phone polling in the seat, with former federal MP Kay Hull’s name put forward to respondents as a potential candidate.
The Nationals’ silence on the issue sparked speculation of a rift between the Coalition partners and forced Premier Gladys Berejiklian to twice come out publicly to say the Liberals would not be opposed by their ally.
Labor has already unveiled Wagga councillor Dan Hayes as its candidate for the byelection, while the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party said yesterday it was preselecting its candidate and will be “making an announcement in the coming days”.
A spokesperson for the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly said late on Friday that Mr Maguire, who promised on Monday that he would resign “before [parliament] resumes” on August 7, had not tended his resignation.
Asked if there were a timeframe, the spokesperson said the question would need to be directed at Mr Maguire.
Yesterday, a spokesperson at Mr Maguire’s office said there were no further comments to the statement on July 23 in which he confirmed his intention to resign.
- Premier confirms Nationals won’t run in Wagga byelection
- Daryl Maguire to resign, says Premier Gladys Berejiklian
- Daryl Maguire says he will quit seat before NSW Parliament resumes
- We say: Internal squabbing over Wagga is damaging the Coalition
- Wagga Labor election candidate announced as sitting MP fights to stay