What is happening to that traditional Liberal/Conservative party of business and farming interests but with a smattering of middle and working-class voters?
That party that centre-voters could safely opt for if their local Labour candidate was a bit, well, too left.
We all knew that the old National Party would govern in its own interests of course, as Labour does, but that there is a gentling liberal influence within the broad church that is a party who has, over the years, regarded itself as the natural party of government.
The liberal wing would ensure that the conservative religious zealots to the right would be restrained from some of the policies that could divide our communities.
There was always a balancing, as one sees within Labour to an extent.
Both parties are made up of disparate groupings that come together for only one reason, power.
As a result, both parties were able to attract the support of middle swing voters.
Apart from the Lange government of 1984 followed by the Bolger government of 1990 who, between them, changed New Zealand forever, most governments rule down the middle, not upsetting supporters too much.
For example, both Labour and National will make noises occasionally about raising the age of retirement from 65 years.
We all know that will be unlikely for the foreseeable future as older New Zealanders all vote and younger New Zealanders maybe do not bother as much.
A voter can usually choose either National or Labour knowing that life will carry on much the same, no matter what the result.
A bit trickier nowadays with MMP but the major party in any coalition has the real power.
So if your local National or Labour candidates please or displease you with their profiles or their stance on certain subjects you can possibly place a safe bet on the other candidate.
The Roy Morgan poll of August 2021 has National floundering at 25 per cent compared to 29 per cent in March 2021. Act sits on 13 per cent. Labour was unchanged at 39.5 per cent but the Greens got a bump of 2 per cent, up to 12 per cent.
With both Act and the Greens sitting around half of what National is polling at, that is a cause for serious concern even this far out from 2023.
National has been a traditional home for many in the electorate, the farming and business communities in particular but it has always attracted middle voters.
This seems to have stopped with the middle going slightly left, probably due much to Labour's success dealing with Covid-19, and the right going to Act.
Labour is no great shake as a government but it is also not doing any real harm.
Transformation has really not occurred with most of the government's energy going into dealing with the current pandemic.
It is light on intellectual grunt on the front benches with the few very able ministers carrying heavy loads. The PM's charisma helps but will not last forever, nothing does.
So where is the opposition? Where is the cut-through coming from? Act comes across as a much more effective opposition party in the House than its natural political ally.
Seymour needles with almost pedantic detail on every small point, making some ministers flounder or react negatively because they simply cannot answer convincingly.
Apart from Chris Bishop, Michael Woodhouse and Louise Upston, nothing much is happening in National other than negativity from the Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins, continually playing the man rather than the ball.
Her condescending manner towards the PM does her no favours at the moment.
Demoting one of her more able, liberal front-benchers, Chris Bishop, is a mistake that will cost her loyalty in caucus despite her reportedly ruling with an iron fist.
From the outside, there seems to be a need for Collins to surround herself with conservative acolytes such as Harete Hipango.
This will not sit well with many in the party and certainly not with the voters who National will need to persuade back to the right in a couple of years' time.
Two years is a lifetime in politics as we know but National needs to stop attacking, especially the attacks like the one displayed recently by Collins on Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist of some repute, who really cannot and probably does not want to bother fighting back. She is too clever to stoop.
Collins often shows a side of herself that is simply not prime-ministerial. She seems to model herself on Robert Muldoon, a force both within and outside Parliament.
If there is some grand plan to replace her before the election the board, who by the way has no farmers on it nowadays, they'd better get cracking.
Things really cannot get much worse for a party of huge mana and history other than a Liberal faction breaking away.