When Amy Adams was appointed National's finance spokesperson she said the role was "a hell of a steep learning curve".

Adams, defeated by Simon Bridges for the National Party leadership earlier this year, was quickly awarded the prime finance shadow portfolio.

A year on from the 2017 general election — where National's strong showing should have put it in the pole position to form a government — the party is struggling in the eyes of CEOs to carve out a credible economic alternative to the Coalition Government.

Two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents to the 2018 Mood of the Boardroom survey are in this camp.

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To some extent, National is a victim of the electoral cycle.

Said Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos, "To date it has been somewhat disappointing I would have thought for them, but probably not unexpected given the political cycle."

Mainfreight CEO Don Braid responded: "National need better policy alternatives and to stop worrying about the trivial matters that seem to be the focus of Parliament at the moment."

"There is no credible government or opposition currently on the horizon. Tragic," says the CEO of a homewares company.

Many of those surveyed acknowledged that it will be difficult for National to credibly criticise the Coalition's handling of major areas that could be seen as National's lack of action after nine years in government.

Explains the chair of a professional services firm: "For example, infrastructure to match the growing population, the housing shortage in Auckland, and overpriced housing compared both to household incomes, and to comparable dwellings in places like the United States and Europe."

Adds a residential construction boss: "Housing is a critical issue and one on which the electorate sees National as having failed badly on. Mocking Phil Twyford may make for a satisfying afternoon in the House, but it's hardly presenting a credible alternative strategy."

An energy sector leader said their feeling towards the Opposition goes further than providing an economic alternative.

"They haven't carved out a credible political, social or environmental alternative either."

But although it was widely believed that National is not yet performing as the well-oiled Opposition they may be hoping for, some CEOs noted that they still offer a better alternative to the Government — they just need to find some friends to make sure they're not caught short at the next election.

"National is still polling in the 40s — so New Zealanders like them.

"What National needs is a credible coalition partner to help them get over 50 per cent," says a banker.