Mr Blakester similarly was motivated to stand by what he considers to be a dysfunctional parliament. He's a city boy who has returned to his family's roots in the Werris Creek/Gunnedah area, concerned by parliamentarians electioneering for their entire terms.
"There are crises in areas like the Murray Darling Basin and Barrier Reef, and structural changes in economy, technology and globalisation. We're not on the front foot."
He said his one interest is this electorate and its priorities and opportunities.
Incumbent Barnaby Joyce was a no-show but six other contenders for his New England seat in the May 18 federal election met voters at Wednesday night's Candidates Q&A forum, in Tenterfield. Mr Joyce won New England for the Nationals with 58.52 per cent of vote over independent Tony Windsor on a two-party-preferred basis at the last general election.