It seems like only yesterday the Labour Party was going through an endless search for a new leader.

Now it is the National Party's turn after Bill English decided he had had enough after a 27-year parliamentary career.

It was a long, hard road for Mr English at times and he certainly had to rebuild after his first disastrous attempt at being his party's leader.

There is no question that second time around he did much better. In a way he can thank John Key for revitalising his career and giving him a second chance. He took that chance with both hands and proved to be a capable deputy and an astute finance minister.

Advertisement

Even though he did not do too bad a job as an appointed caretaker prime minister, one never got the sense that he would ever turn out to be one of the country's great leaders.
He certainly did not have the charisma or charm of Sir John or current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for that matter, but he was solid and dependable.

There is no question that his departure has left National with quite a challenge. But it is probably the right time for both him and the party. Mr English is not going to achieve any more than he has and for the party it is better that it gets the inevitable blood-letting and infighting out of the way now, so it has ample time to prepare for the next election with a stable leader in place.

But for now, it is time for a big fight as candidates who believe it is their turn, put their hands up. So far, three have done so — Judith Collins, Simon Bridges and Amy Adams. Even if others do step forward, the leader is likely to come from that trio.

Of the three, Ms Collins seems to have the inside running. She probably won't ever be prime minister but she will be a perfect Opposition leader because she won't be afraid to go for the jugular. She will relentlessly attack Ms Ardern and hold her to account.

Time for someone with a bit of mongrel.