Mr Woodward said the news the Cowper MP plans to stand down at the next election creates an opportunity for the people of Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and the mid north coast to focus on the future.
“I acknowledge Mr Hartsuyker for his service to the parliament and community since 2001,” Mr Woodward said.
“I applaud him for last year supporting in Parliament the vote on marriage equality where went against his own personal stated position. I wish him and his family well in his retirement.
“However, a parliamentarian is only as good as the party they represent and the ideology they subscribe to.”
When the news broke, Mr Woodward was quick to point out what he believes to be Mr Hartsuyker’s and his party’s failings including the removal of weekend penalty rates, supporting tax cuts and no commitment on climate change.
”Mr Hartsuyker’s legacy is one of under achievement and lost opportunity. While other parts of regional Australia have achieved much since the start of the century, Cowper has either been stagnant or left behind,” Mr Woodward said.
“The list is long and the issues are complex. The National Party simply isn’t up to delivering for regional and rural Australia. In time, they will pick a replacement candidate for Mr Hartsuyker who will only be capable of more of the same.”
The next federal election will be held by May 2019.
Another possible candidate is the former member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott who contested the 2016 election for Cowper. He is yet to publicly commit to standing for election.