Todd Muller's resignation as National Party leader has shocked National's Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule - but he's confident the party will have a new leader within 24 hours.

Yule spoke to NZME's The Hits breakfast team and Hawke's Bay Today soon after the surprising news. National party MPs learned of Muller's decision on Tuesday minutes before media were advised.

"I'm pretty shocked, to be honest. Todd was doing a really good job.''

Muller's resignation has plunged the National Party into turmoil just 67 days before the general election, but Yule said the Labour Party was in a similar position in the last elections and everything turned out okay.


"Labour were on 22 per cent 70 days out from elections. I believe we will have a new leader in 24 hours," Yule said.

"We are going to have a caucus in Wellington at 7pm tonight [Tuesday] and I am hoping for a consensus and resolution regarding who the party leader will be in 24 hours, if not later tonight.

"My hope is that we deal with it swiftly and promptly."

 National Party leader Todd Muller, right, with Lawrence Yule at the Mataekakaho Hall, near Hastings. Photo / Paul Taylor
National Party leader Todd Muller, right, with Lawrence Yule at the Mataekakaho Hall, near Hastings. Photo / Paul Taylor

He said anyone could put their hand up to be the leader, a process called "self-nomination".

"The party then decides either through consensus, or vote through a secret ballot."

He said he would not be putting his name in the hat to be the next leader.

"There are far more experienced people in the party than myself. The National Party is full of very talented people and one of them will be the next leader."

Muller announced his resignation on Tuesday claiming his health was suffering and stated he was stepping down as leader "effective immediately".


"I have taken time over the weekend to reflect on my experience over the last several weeks as Leader of the Opposition," Muller said.

"It has become clear to me that I am not the best person to be Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the New Zealand National Party at this critical time for New Zealand.

"It is more important than ever that the New Zealand National Party has a leader who is comfortable in the role.

"The role has taken a heavy toll on me personally, and on my family, and this has become untenable from a health perspective.

"For that reason I will be stepping down as Leader effective immediately."

Yule said it was sad to see a "stunning individual" like Muller resign but he understood the reasons.


"There is more to life than politics," he said.

"It's a very unforgiving environment, and it takes a special kind of person to do the job. There's immense pressure on people.

"He is a stunning individual with a very caring family and he turned the fortunes of the party around.

"He's a man of great integrity."

Yule said Muller had indicated that he was intending to stick around in Parliament.

Katie Nimon, National's candidate for Napier, declined to comment on Muller's resignation.