First meet the candidates forum held in Tamworth

Adam Blakester, one of the three independents running, said unconstrained politicians could be "incredibly influential", even in a majority parliament.

"An independent is never in opposition, they can work right across the parliament," Mr Blakester said.

"The real influence of independents - and the history shows this - is that when there is a shared priority in an electorate, it's not just that one person working on it. It's the whole community working together.

"The short answer is, 'it's not me, it's we'."

First meet the candidates forum held in Tamworth without Barnaby Joyce

TAMWORTH voters had their first in-person chance to question the electorate's aspiring politicians, with six of the eight New England candidates attending a community forum at the Coledale Community Centre. Greens candidate Tony Lonergan was frank in his assessment of the upcoming election. "New England has a choice between Barnaby Joyce and an independent," Mr Lonergan said.