Mike Baird resignation, Hunter MPs, mayors, union officials and business people react

Premier Mike Baird emotional at a press conference announcing his resignation in Sydney. Picture: Janie Barrett
Premier Mike Baird emotional at a press conference announcing his resignation in Sydney. Picture: Janie Barrett

After Mike Baird’s shock announcement to quit politics on Thursday morning, Hunter MPs and prominent business people are speaking out.

At a press conference in Sydney on Thursday Mr Baird said he was stepping down from the job after three years as Premier and 10 years in parliament to allow a “refresh” of his government. More here.

What does it mean for Newcastle? 

THE announcement was just so Mike. Early on Thursday morning, the 44th Premier of NSW announced, via Twitter, that he was quitting politics. MICHAEL McGOWAN examines what it means for the region.

Baird ‘let down by team’

Premier Mike Baird was an “excellent captain” but the team beneath him was “bowled out for a duck”, according to the Mayor of Port Stephens Bruce MacKenzie. Read more.

Short-changing public transport

NEWS of Mike Baird’s retirement has been met with smiles and delight among some union representatives, who say the outgoing NSW Premier would not be missed in the Hunter Region.

Chris Preston, the NSW divisional secretary of the Rail Tram and Bus Union, said Baird’s “disgraceful” legacy for Newcastle would be the “death of public transport in the second largest city in NSW.”

Mr Preston said he wished Mr Baird’s retirement had happened much sooner.

“If Mike Baird had jumped ship 18 months ago, who knows? We might have kept Newcastle Buses & Ferries in public hands,” Mr Preston said. Read more.

Baird’s ‘unselfish focus’

OUTGOING NSW Premier Mike Baird has been praised by Hunter Business Chamber’s new chief executive Bob Hawes for his “focus and determination” to transform Newcastle.

“If you go back to 2010 there was a chorus of voices in the region crying out for help to fix our regional capital,” Mr Hawes said.

“But when there were changes people started questioning ‘Is this is the right thing, or should he be doing something else?’ Read more.

Heartless policies his undoing: Hunter Labor MPs

THE Hunter’s state Labor MPs expressed surprise at Premier Mike Baird’s resignation on Thursday, and vowed to pressure his successor over the government’s “heartless policies” of privatising assets and merging councils. Read more.

‘He truly believed he was right’

LAKE Macquarie independent Greg Piper has described Mike Baird as a man “who truly believed that what he was doing was the right thing for NSW”. Read more.

Hunter Property Council director labels Premier a 'champion' for the Hunter

Outgoing NSW Premier Mike Baird has been praised as an “absolute champion of Newcastle and the Hunter” by the Property Council of Australia’s Hunter director, Andrew Fletcher.

“His legacy will be setting the platform for Newcastle to be a globally competitive city in the future,” Mr Fletcher said. More here.

Save our Rail president Joan Dawson accuses premier of 'decapitating' Newcastle

Save our Rail president Joan Dawson has welcomed the resignation of Mike Baird, saying the former premier has left a “disgraceful” legacy in Newcastle and his decision to truncate the heavy rail line had “decapitated” the city. 

There were bitter divisions within the community over the fate of the line for much of Mr Baird’s tenure in the top job, until the state government passed legislation allowing it to pull up the tracks in October 2015. More here.

Save our Rail president Joan Dawson.

Save our Rail president Joan Dawson.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says Baird’s retirement will give Maitland a fresh start

The retirement of Mike Baird from politics will open the door for Maitland to have a better relationship with the Premier, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says.

Ms Aitchison said Maitland had a large wish list that she was eager to discuss with the new Premier, particularly in the areas of health and education. More here.

Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen praises outgoing Premier Mike Baird

UPPER Hunter MP Michael Johnsen has applauded outgoing Premier Mike Baird on his integrity and commitment to NSW.

At a press conference in Sydney on Thursday Mr Baird said he was stepping down from the job after three years as Premier and 10 years in parliament to allow a “refresh” of his government.  More here.

This story Baird’s resignation: how the Hunter reacted first appeared on Newcastle Herald.