Dave Layzell claims victory for Nationals in Upper Hunter

Dave Layzell has claimed victory for the National Party in the Upper Hunter.

Votes are still being counted from the weekend’s state election, but he believes based on the figures his office has received from scrutineers at polling booths he has enough to retain the seat and Labor cannot get enough to get past him.

Peree Watson, Labor’s candidate for the seat, is still waiting for more official votes to be counted before she concedes defeat.

She has said this morning based on the numbers she has received the margin between the two is getting smaller and she could still be in with a chance.

At this stage according to the NSW Electoral Commission, there’s 2,428 votes separating the two with Dave Layzell holding 37.5 per cent on first preferences and Peree Watson on nearly 30 per cent.

Dave said he is more than comfortable to say he has retained the seat even though Peree doesn’t want to concede yet.

“That’s her call, we’re looking at our numbers, we’ve got scrutineers there bringing numbers back to us so we’re very comfortable now that the numbers are strong enough even with more counting still to be done.”

The seat was always going to be a challenge to hold onto after the redistribution saw the Upper Hunter electorate lose Nationals heartland like Quirindi and gain areas in Maitland that were in Labor seats.

“They move the seat closer and closer to the metro areas, like Newcastle, and of course the closer the seat gets to Newcastle the more and more Labor it tends to become so that makes it tough. The margin was reduced right down to 0.5 per cent but I’m just glad the work that I’ve done in the last 18 months to two years has been enough to convince the Upper Hunter that I am the man for the job,” Dave said.

The next term will be just as challenging being in opposition , but Dave is confident he can work with the Minns Government to achieve positive outcomes for the Upper Hunter.

“One of the things that I have been watching from government is how people work with the government. I’ve seen very effective opposition MP’s and I’ve seen some which are completely ineffective so I’ve been modelling off that and I’ll use those skills going forward.

“It is one of those things that you’ve got to be able to work on relationships and that’s something that I focus on and I make sure I’ve got good relationships,

“There are some in the Labor party that I have good relationships with so I’m expecting going forward there will be some areas of challenge but there will be plenty of good work that can be done with the government.

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