KIAMA MP Gareth Ward says he has a signed letter from NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner stating the party has no intention of standing a candidate in the electorate.
His comments came a day after former Shoalhaven mayor and one-time Nationals candidate for Gilmore Max Atkins said he would welcome Nationals standing candidates in all South Coast seats.
“Everyone is entitled to their view, Max is entitled to his. At the end of the day politicians don’t get to decide the outcome of the election, people do,” Mr Ward said.
“As I have said previously, I welcome all comers. I look forward to standing on my record, which includes delivering $1.5 billion in investments and infrastructure to the region.”
Speculation has mounted about the Nationals contesting South Coast seats after the branch announced it was forming a branch in Albion Park. It has also been fuelled by an apparently aborted bid by Primary Industry Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to take on sitting Liberal Pru Goward in the seat of Goulburn.
“This has been a Labor Party beat-up from the outset in their desperation towards the next election,” Mr Ward said.
Labor’s Kiama candidate Glenn Kolomeitz denied it was a beat-up.
“The bottom line is the voting public saw Angry Anderson run in Throsby and we’re seeing the soap opera in Goulburn.
“It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Nationals did run someone in the area. By forming a local branch the only reasonable available inference is that they intend to run someone in Kiama in the future in some stage.
“Gareth Ward may have petitioned them not to run but the clear signal to voters is that’s the intention at some stage,” Mr Kolometiz said.