Todd Muller's only job as National Party leader was to lose the election better than it seemed Simon Bridges was destined to do.
Whoever replaces Muller has an even simpler task: save as much of the furniture as possible.
While Jacinda Ardern proved in 2017 that it is possible to win an election after only seven weeks in the job and with a smaller vote than the largest party in a new Parliament, there is no sense that National is in a similar position right now.
Quite apart from anything else, Little handed the leadership to Ardern, creating unity in a fractured party.
National is more fractured today than it was yesterday and there is no obvious successor.
The relevant comparison is to the purgatory that saw Labour run through Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe, and Andrew Little as leaders while a very popular Prime Minister, John Key, led a National Party majority government for the best part of nine years.
So, while the pressure will be immense to choose a new leader at tonight's emergency caucus meeting at Parliament, whoever takes the role can have no realistic hope of forming the next government.
Who are the most likely replacements?
Everyone looks to Judith Collins, who has been open about her ambition to lead but candid that she didn't put herself forward during the latest leadership stoush because she didn't have the numbers.
She might now, but the political calculus is complex.
She is a divisive figure who, despite carefully documented defences in her autobiography published this month, has been associated with the dirty politics that is National's current problem.
Labour's attack line would be: "they tried a decent person as leader and it didn't work, so now it's back to business as usual."
However, she may be the only National politician able to take the fight convincingly to Ardern and National Party faithful are perhaps the least susceptible to changing their votes based on smears on Collins's character.
In a 'save the furniture' strategy, National supporters might react more positively to a steely leader with plenty of political experience than another rookie.
Meanwhile, a slew of recently elected list MPs are now again at risk of losing their seats, which must be a source of schadenfreude for Simon Bridges, since some of those MPs were the biggest supporters for Muller, albeit a disaster for the party.
Would Bridges himself have another crack?
Never say never. He can argue that National held up around 40 per cent support for most of this term, notwithstanding his own failure to fire as a popular political figure. But the world changed with Covid and it feels a very big gamble to go back to the future so quickly.
Mark Mitchell has put his hand up in the past, but he is as unknown as Muller. How much furniture has he ever saved?
If experience is the answer but Collins is not, some have suggested Gerry Brownlee. That would be fun since his shadow Cabinet could be dubbed "Gerry and the Placeholders", but it feels like the sort of long-shot the party would take if Collins refused a nomination.
Nikki Kaye, the current deputy leader, may fancy the role, but she is blighted by her association with Muller's brief reign, adding to his embarrassments with a weak and possibly unsanctioned TV appearance last weekend and the mad claim that Paul Goldsmith was "of course" tangata whenua.
She might get the role simply because no one else steps up, but she does not look like a future Prime Minister anymore.
The other name bandied about is Christopher Luxon, the former Air New Zealand chief executive who unfortunately for National is not yet an MP but will be a shoo-in for the Botany electorate.
His suitability for leadership is based on the "John Key did it" theory.
The reality is that he has never asked a parliamentary question or taken a constituent's 3am call about a blocked drain. His corporate experience is useful in some ways and a hindrance in others for a career in politics, something few businesspeople realise until they try it.
He already has detractors in the National caucus who see him as presumptuous, ill-prepared and too socially conservative to be the next John Key.
And if Collins takes the role, it's impossible to imagine she would agree to be a seat-warmer for Luxon.
There are other possible future leaders in the National caucus, but fewer than might be imagined for the largest political party in Parliament.
The short answer is that there is no obvious answer to the National Party's new dilemma. Whoever leads it next will be lucky to ever become the next National Party prime minister.