NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned "strong and stable" governance in the state may be at risk if the Nationals lose the Upper Hunter by-election and the coalition is forced into minority government.
Ms Berejiklian's coalition held a one-seat majority in the NSW lower house before the resignation of Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen.
Mr Johnsen - who was the local MP for Quirindi, Willow Tree and the Liverpool Plains - resigned on March 31 after being accused of raping a woman in 2019, which he denies. The by-election is scheduled for May 22.
Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Singleton on Wednesday that Nationals candidate and Clarence Town construction manager David Layzell's victory in the poll was crucial for the coalition's policy agenda.
"I'll say this straight out - the deputy premier and myself need him on our team to have a strong and stable government," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We need him to help us keep doing the job we're doing."
Ms Berejiklian has previously written off the Nationals' chances of winning the seat, saying large by-election swings against the government were common.
One Nation is also expected to put forward a candidate.
Labor on Tuesday said it would not support a ban on new coal mines in the Upper Hunter and Mr Drayton criticised the demonisation of coal workers.
But Deputy Premier John Barilaro accused the opposition of having a foot in both camps, with inner-city MPs demanding a greater emphasis on renewables.
"It's track record that tells you more about the future," Mr Barilaro told reporters.
"You had (Labor MPs) Jo Haylen, Penny Sharpe, the whole Labor caucus talking down mining, coal, and being all about climate change, renewables.
"Thanks Jodi (McKay) for turning up, finding your way to the Upper Hunter, thank you for picking a former mining candidate, but it doesn't change the platform.
"This one voice in the Labor caucus will be drowned out."
Ms Berejiklian emphasised the Upper Hunter's major mining, agriculture, viticulture and equine industries needed to "coexist" into the future, arguing "it is really important for us to focus on all sectors".
The Upper Hunter seat was whittled away to a 2.6 per cent margin in 2019, when Mr Johnsen scooped up 34 per cent of first preferences.
The May 22 poll is expected to be tight despite the Nationals and its predecessor party holding the electorate for nearly a century.
"I do need David on my team, I need him to be part of my government so the Upper Hunter has a voice in government," Ms Berejiklian said.
An Australia Institute poll of 668 people in Upper Hunter found on Tuesday that 57.4 per cent supported a moratorium on new coal mine approvals and a remediation plan for existing mines in the Hunter Valley.
Only 35.1 per cent opposed those measures.
The Police Association of NSW, meanwhile, said on Wednesday the new MP should push for an upgrade to Singleton police station and court house.
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