The co-founder of a group rallying support for viable candidates to contest Nationals-held federal and state seats says he'd welcome the chance to meet residents on the Mid North Coast.
Rohan Boehm said Anyone But Nats is running a series of community forums in key electorates including Armidale, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Broken Hill.
Mr Boehm, who contested the state seat of Barwon in 2015, confirmed an interest in establishing a footprint on the coastal fringe.
"We are giving people the chance to have a conversation; to give people the idea that they can really do quite a lot to change their long term prospects," he said.
"We would be very happy to engage with local people and to show them that there is a different type of open conversation possible about their regions and their politics.
"For one, climate and the lack of climate action by the Nationals and the degree to which the Nats have a handbrake on the economy.
"For them to promote themselves as a political party is really quite wrong," he said.
Mr Boehm says the Nationals have clearly reacted adversely to our presence.
He said the community forums give residents the chance to be heard.
"Normally the meet the candidates-type events are pretty well staged and nobody gets to talk and ask their questions.
"They are mainly there for the politicians to promote their wares. This is just another form of dominating the landscape and the airwaves.
"Already we have found that people across the state are really wanting to engage in discussions that are really important to their communities."
Already we have found that people across the state are really wanting to engage in discussions that are really important to their communities.Rohan Boehm
Mr Boehm described most pre-selected Nationals candidates as "nodders" and "non-effective politicians who are effectively filling up the space".
"They basically turn up every four years or so and hand out funds to keep communities and groups quiet," he added.
But Mr Boehm's comments have drawn a strong reaction from federal MP Luke Hartsuyker.
The soon-to-retire member, who was re-elected six times in Cowper, says the Nationals would contest the next federal election on its merits.
"Just look at the runs on the board, at state and federal level," Mr Hartsuyker said.
"You can now almost drive from Sydney to Grafton on a divided dual carriageway, while funding is now ready for the Coffs Harbour bypass.
"For those on the New England, the inland rail was championed by Barnaby Joyce.
"You have Dr David Gillespie delivering for the electorate of Lyne while at the State level the Nats' Leslie Williams and Melinda Pavey have been delivering in spades for their electorates.
"The Nats have delivered massive investment in health infrastructure while we have delivered record levels in investment."
Mr Hartsuyker said there can hardly be a claim that the Nationals' have not delivered.
He pointed to the 700 either constructed or planned mobile phone towers under the mobile phone black spot program as further evidence of the work carried out by the Nationals.
"The Nats have a great story to tell. I've been through six elections and from time to time groups come up that are never for anything, and always against something.
The Nats have a great story to tell. I've been through six elections and from time to time groups come up that are never for anything, and always against something.Luke Hartsuyker
"So a group that doesn't stand for anything has zero credibility."
He said the Nationals' candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan was born in Kempsey, worked as a policeman in his home town and went on to a successful career as a lawyer.
"Someone of Pat's calibre will be well placed to take the concerns of the electorate to Canberra," Mr Hartsuyker said.
Mr Boehm said transport infrastructure, health, disability services and education - including TAFE - had suffered at the hands of the Nationals' inaction.
"We have a TAFE system that is totally incapable of responding to the massive technology changes being undertaken in our lives," he said.
"Government is not responding to assist regions in becoming powerhouses.
"This is not a mystery. It is simply that the Nats have the handbrake fully on.
"We need to start building our regions. A third of our population lives outside our capital cities. Far, far, far less than that is being invested in the regions."
Mr Boehm said Anyone But Nats would consider hosting a community forum on the Mid North Coast.
"We would welcome people reaching out to us, because we need locals to put their hands up and help set up these community forums," he said.
"People deserve to have those conversations.
"We are daring people to vote differently and put the Nats last," he said.
Mr Boehm said he wasn't concerned when the federal election would be called.
"I think everyone knows the outcome of the next federal election no matter when it is held," he added.
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