Thursday, 16 October 2014
NSW Deputy Premier and leader of the NSW Nationals Andrew Stoner walking away from Parliament in 2015
Although an increasingly irrelevant rump to the Liberal Party, it is still worth noting a change of Nationals leadership at state level in New South Wales.
The Land 15 October 2014:
NSW Deputy Premier and leader of the NSW Nationals Andrew Stoner is to retire from politics at the 2015 state election.
Hospitality Minister Troy Grant, the member for Dubbo, is the leading candidate to take the leadership after deputy leader Adrian Piccoli ruled himself out this evening.
Mr Stoner, the member for the Mid North Coast seat of Oxley, has served in the NSW Parliament since 1999 and as Nationals leader since 2003.
At a lunchtime news conference on Wednesday, Mr Stoner said he would step down as Nationals leader on Thursday morning, after which a ballot for the Nationals leadership will be held and a new Deputy Premier elected.
Mr Piccoli, also Education Minister, was initially reported to be a challenger to Mr Grant. However, he released a statement this evening confirming he will support Mr Grant in the ballot.
Mr Piccoli will continue in his current role of deputy leader and member for Murrumbidgee…..
The news follows the announcement by former NSW Liberal energy minister Chris Hartcher earlier on Wednesday that he will also retire at next year's poll.
The Australian 15 October 2014:
Mr Stoner said he was quitting politics in order to spend more time with his family. He is married with six children and lives in Port Macquarie on the NSW mid-north coast.
He told a press conference this afternoon that he had spent 250 days a year away from home, and this made it very difficult for his wife and children. He did not intend to get a full-time job after politics but may look for some part-time position, he said.
He said his wife had faced some difficult family issues pretty much on her own.
He had recently had a break from politics and had seen what she was dealing with. She had asked him to give up politics and he had not hesitated, he said.
Mr Stoner will remain in Cabinet with his existing portfolios of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure, Tourism and major events, Small Business and the North Coast.
His safe seat of Oxley could be a parachute for the Nationals Upper House MLC Melinda Pavey, who was dropped down the ticket in recent pre-selections. She lives on the NSW North Coast.
Mr Stoner has held Oxley since 1999 and been leader of the Nationals since 2003. He became deputy premier after the election of the O’Farrell government in 2011.