While the National Party whips were counting the votes for Simon Bridges after the second ballot in their super secret caucus yesterday they were also counting themselves out of the next election.

They truly sealed that fate when they did the head count for Paula Bennett over Judith Collins for the deputy's job. The party's MPs have ignored, likely at their peril, the wishes of their rank and file supporters who were solidly behind Collins. And they can kiss goodbye to Winston Peters with Bennett part of the mix.

The new leader is even more morally conservative than Bill English, so when he talks about generational change he's simply talking about his 41 years, not about where his head is.

National's rock solid support, which has been hovering around the mid-40s, will soon become sand through the hourglass. The glass will be set at between a year and 18 months when the party will be spooked by the falling opinion polls, and the vultures - and as we've seen by this contest there are plenty of them - will start circling.


Bridges' generational change then is about as solid as his claims to his Maori heritage and that of his deputy, neither of whom have made much of it in their rise up through the ranks; not altogether surprising considering their new leader is just three sixteenths Maori and Bennett's grandmother was half-Maori.

They're now fully fledged tangata whenua it seems and he's pleading for the Maori vote, which is unlikely to wash.

The new leader sought to impress about how inclusive he was going to be, even to those who stood against him. He declared National as the party of "Crusher" Collins and of Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop, who both publicly backed Amy Adams, and yes he was at it again "of Simon Bridges", he said of himself. Just as well considering he's now leading the shop.

Curiously no mention was made of Adams. Word has it the pair initially thought about presenting themselves as a team but argued over who would be the leader and the idea was ditched.

Just how inclusive he is will be revealed in the coming weeks with his shadow cabinet reshuffle, or payback time for those who supported him.

Seeing the writing was on the wall and the numbers weren't there was Mark Mitchell who was never really a serious prospect. He withdrew from the race shortly before they gathered in the blued-out room for their secret vote.

It was a shrewd move by Mitchell. He's now written himself in as a prospect for the future and that's where the next National Prime Minister will come from - in the future not from those who've just stepped up to the plate.