NOT OK: Leonie Harrison says this borders on bribery.
NOT OK: Leonie Harrison says this borders on bribery. Leonie Harrison

Pushing the boundaries as election draws near

AS THE state election draws near, candidates are upping the ante, but a ploy involving the promise of a transport card has been singled out for some harsh criticism.

The letter from Nationals candidate for the seat of Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh says: "Vote 1 Nationals to get your $250 Regional Seniors Transport Card".

Leonie Harrison couldn't believe it and contacted the Advocate.

"I got mine in the mail about 10 minutes ago. I was gobsmacked," Ms Harrison said.

"I just thought that's not OK. It's way over the top and bordering on bribery because this is such an issue for seniors living in regional communities."

Leonie has lived in Coffs Harbour for 15 years and said she was used to election promises that "all too often fall through" but said this recent ploy was on a different level.

"Where it hits somebody in the hip pocket, that's personal and this ($250) is a lot of money for some people."

Mr Singh admitted that from a marketing perspective it was a bit different but the letter clearly stated the card was an election commitment.

He said it was all about levelling the playing field between seniors living in regional areas and those in Sydney who enjoy travel subsidies.

"It's different in the way it has been marketed but it's showing what the card will look like," he said.

"It's a policy modelled on a successful West Australian policy. Of the hundreds of calls we've had about it there's been a very positive response," he said.

Independent MP Jeremy Buckingham has referred the election material to the Electoral Commission claiming it's a "bribe" that breached electoral rules.

"I believe that a reasonable person may read the material and believe they will receive a direct benefit of $250 if they vote 1 for the National Party candidate - in other words a bribe," his letter to the Commission said.

The state election will be held on March 23.