Pru Goward: set to battle colleague Katrina Hodgkinson for the seat of Goulburn. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson will nominate for Nationals preselection in the seat of Goulburn, setting up a fierce battle with her Liberal cabinet colleague Pru Goward at next year's election.
Ms Hodgkinson told Fairfax Media on Tuesday she had consulted with the community since her seat of Burrinjuck was redrawn and renamed Cootamundra in an electoral boundary redistribution last year.
"I'm too young to not work, I'm still in my 40s," she said. "I've got a lot more to contribute to public life".
Chasing Goulburn seat: Katrina Hodgkinson. Photo: Supplied
Ms Hodgkinson said she ruled out standing in Cootamundra as it was "too far" from her "home base" of Yass where she grew up and Berrima where she and her husband recently built a house.
"I wouldn't be putting my name forward if I didn't think I had a strong chance," she said.
The announcement came as a country vice-president of the Liberals, Hollie Hughes, emailed state executive colleagues on Tuesday calling on the party to retaliate by running candidates in Nationals-held seats.
Ms Hughes also wants the party to revisit an agreement guaranteeing the Nationals three winnable spots on a joint upper house ticket in 2015 and instead base it on current ratios in the lower house.
This would mean the Nationals would be eligible for only two of the estimated nine winnable upper house seats for the Coalition.
It could cause significant problems for the party as three of its upper house MPs are up for reselection and former Nationals state director Ben Franklin and Murray-Darling MP John Williams are also seeking preselection.
Ms Hughes also called for Liberal preselections in the Nationals-held seats of Monaro, Port Macquarie, Northern Tablelands, Dubbo and Upper Hunter, held by hospitality minister George Souris, as well as Cootamundra.
NSW Nationals chairman Niall Blair said "cool heads will prevail" and discussions would be held between the "proper authorities".
He said there was a deal between the parties regarding the upper house. "It has the Premier's signature on it," he said. "A deal's a deal".