NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian may be deputy to Mike Baird.
NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian may be deputy to Mike Baird. PAUL MILLER

Berejiklian expected to be next NSW Premier

GLADYS Berejiklian looks set to become the state's next premier with the Right wing guaranteeing her numbers this afternoon.

The Centre Right and Right factions have agreed to support Ms Berejiklian, a Left candidate, Right sources have told The Daily Telegraph.

Ms Berejiklian, 46 and the daughter of Armenian immigrants, is expected to shortly announce her candidature for the job.

It is understood under the deal, Finance Minister and key right winger Dominic Perrottet would become treasurer and deputy leader, it is understood.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Transport Minister Andrew Constance have yet to declare whether they would also run at the party room ballot next week.

Mr Stokes is in London and Mr Constance has been making calls testing support today.

The party room vote is set for Monday morning.

In a statement, Ms Berejiklian praised Mr Baird as she confirmed she was running.

"I am deeply saddened that Mike Baird has announced his decision to retire from politics. Mike has been an inspiring leader and a man of enormous integrity who has left an outstanding and indelible mark on the state of NSW," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Mike's leadership has made NSW the economic and infrastructure powerhouse of the nation. His compassion has also ensured a better quality of life for those most vulnerable.

"On a personal note, he has been a great leader and friend. I have been proud to work with him for six years in the ministry and for three of those as his Deputy.

"I wish Mike, Kerryn and their family the very best for the future and thank them for the personal sacrifices they have made for the betterment of the people of NSW.

"Today is Mike's day - but I would like to make it clear that I will be standing for the leadership."

Mike Baird told a press conference at his Martin Place office this morning - attended by his family - that the decision hadn't been easy.

"It has taken a lot of deliberation - but I strongly believe it is the right decision. Really, there's a couple of reasons for that. In my maiden speech, I spoke about wanting to come into public life to make a difference. I was frustrated by what I saw - a lack of action - and I was determined to try and get things done," a visibly emotional Mr Baird said.

"After 10 years in public life, three years as treasurer and three years as premier, I think now is the right time to do this.

"My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge and, to be honest, at times I have been in pain not being able to spend the time that I should."

"The economy - remember what New South Wales was like? It was a basket case. It now has the strongest economic growth, it has got the strongest jobs growth, it has got the strongest and highest housing approvals in the nation, and the lowest unemployment rate.

"Things that don't happen by chance, but with a lot of hard work, and we were proud to do that," he said.

Mr Baird, who became Premier in April 2014, said he would be voting for his successor after the Liberal party-room meeting next week and a spill.

Following that meeting, he would resign from parliament, effective immediately.

He said his daughter Cate was doing her HSC, and his daughter Laura had announced her engagement, while his son Luke has always wanted him to coach his soccer team.

Mr Baird paid credit to his wife "who has been my lifeline".

"She has been so supportive on this journey. I love her dearly," Mr Baird said.

"I also want to thank the deputy premiers that I worked with - Andrew Stoner and Troy Grant and John Barilaro. And also my deputy leader, Gladys Berejiklian, for her support as my deputy leader."

Mr Baird, a former banker, would not speculate on his future employment.

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