New England By-election: Federal transport minister Darren Chester in Tamworth to support Barnaby Joyce

FLOWN IN: Federal transport minister Darren Chester speaks to constituents in Tamworth. Photo: Rachel Baxter
FLOWN IN: Federal transport minister Darren Chester speaks to constituents in Tamworth. Photo: Rachel Baxter

CANDIDATES in Saturday’s New England by-election did not waste time in pounding the pavement to garner last minute votes.

In Tamworth, Federal transport minister Darren Chester was seen speaking with locals outside the town hall and on Peel St in a bid to help secure Barnaby Joyce’s return to the region’s top job.

Mr Chester said voters have moved on from the dual citizenship issue and are ready to get back to business.

"We just want to see Barnaby poll very well today, get returned and get back into Canberra and lead out team into the future," Mr Chester said.

With voters piling into polling places across the region, our candidates also had to cast their own votes on the day. 

It was a feeling of nostalgia for The Greens’ Peter Wills who cast his vote at his old school – Quirindi High.

Fairfax journalist Rachel Baxter caught up with Country Minded candidate Pete Mailler who said whatever the result, he hoped his message was clear to voters - "there needed to be more competition in politics".

"There's a lot of people who are pissed off but they still can't see any alternative," he said.

"We've got a lot of people lined up at polling booths to hand out across the electorate ... more than we've ever seen before and more than we anticipated me might get.

"That's a good outcome for us."

Labor candidate David Ewings is at Tamworth High School this morning.

"I've been talking to as many people as possible and a lot of people have been stopping to chat, it's great," he told The Leader.

Mr Ewings said the coalition's backflip on a royal commission into the banking sector was a hot topic for voters today.

"We'll wait and see the terms of reference for that, it seems the banks are leading the government and not the other way around," he said.

Sustainable Australia's William Bourke said his goal today was about further introducing their brand to people in the New England.

"We're making sure people can see the brand," he said.

"It's really about introducing a lot of people to our independent party from the political centre.

"They're looking for something in the middle of politics and talking about jobs and the environment is really resonating."

Sustainable Australia's voter van is outside Tamworth High School now.