Nationals MP Colin Holt will retire from politics at the next election, calling time on a 12-year Parliamentary career representing the South West. Bunbury councillor James Hayward has emerged as an early contender for Mr Holt’s spot at the top of the Nationals South West ticket, although the party is undertaking a formal nomination process. Mr Hayward is the immediate past president of the WA Nationals Party — a position he held for five years — and is also the current deputy president of the Federal Nationals. “It wasn’t my intention to nominate however with Colin’s retirement I’m in the process of reconsidering what my position is and will probably lodge an application by the end of the week,” Mr Hayward said. Mr Holt is the second Upper House Nationals MP quitting at the next election, following the announcement deputy leader Jacqui Boydell — who represents the Mining and Pastoral Region — would also stand down in March. He entered Parliament in 2008 at a time when the WA Nationals enjoyed the balance of power and used that leverage to implement their flagship Royalties for Regions policy. “I was very fortunate to come in through the Royalties for Regions election and helped implement a program that completely changed face of WA,” Mr Holt said. The 56-year-old also spent two years as Minister for Housing and Racing for Gaming between 2014 and 2016. More recently, he played a key role in the passage of controversial voluntary-assisted dying legislation, including acting as deputy chair for the Parliamentary committee that laid the groundwork for the historic Bill. Mr Holt then helped negotiate the amendments required to shepherd the law through the Upper House in the face of fierce opposition from some corners. “VAD was one of those issues where people tended to be at either extreme of the argument. “Some people absolutely object no matter what and others believed it should be the natural right of people. “There was a lot of pressure, a lot of focus from the community on it and a lot of big names falling on one or the other side of the issue — the Australian Medical Association was initially opposed before changing their position. “There were lots of moving parts so I was really happy to play my role in it.” WA Nationals Leader Mia Davies praised Mr Holt for his work ethic and pragmatic approach to politics. “In the Parliament he has earned the respect of his peers across the political divide by taking a practical and collaborative approach, particularly when dealing with contentious issues,” she said.