Stoner sticks to his guns

ANDREW Stoner has moved to clarify his controversial remarks in Parliament about Councillor Keith Rhoades but pulled no punches about his opinions on the mayor’s political allegiances.

The State Leader of the Nationals, who told Labor Roads Minister David Borger in Parliament on Wednesday: ‘if you lie with dogs you will get up with fleas’ following Mr Borger’s meeting with Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades, said in Parliament yesterday he was commenting on political game-playing by ALP politicians and ‘so-called Independent candidates’. (See the story online:

Mr Stoner said it was ‘a scurrilous lie’ by the mayor and the minister when they said no representations had been made by local MPs about the shocking Nambucca Heads to Urunga section of the Pacific Highway.

“The member for Coffs Harbour and I could fill the back of a truck with copies of the representations we have made about the Pacific Highway, including the stretch in question,” Mr Stoner said.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser is currently in London at a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference about parliamentary procedure.

In a private member’s statement, Mr Stoner, who is also the member for Oxley which includes the Pacific Highway from Port Macquarie to Urunga, said it was sad to see political game-playing on the issue of the Pacific Highway “because this issue is about tragedies that deeply affect families and communities and it should be above politics.

“It is sad because this is precisely what happened prior to the last state election when the then Labor Minister for Roads Joe Tripodi teamed up with the Labor-supported political aspirant mayor of Coffs Harbour to use deaths on the Pacific Highway to try to damage the member for Coffs Harbour and they accused him of not caring about the issue,” Mr Stoner said.

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