Former National Party leaders say Christopher Luxon will provide a much-needed fresh start for the party and present a credible challenge to Labour, but his lack of political experience will be "a challenge".
The party today elected Luxon leader and Nicola Willis deputy.
It has been a turbid few days for the party, with former leader Judith Collins ousted on Thursday after her dramatic demotion of another former leader Simon Bridges.
Luxon's election was confirmed at 3.30pm, shortly after Bridges announced he had dropped out of the race.
This has made the first-term MP Luxon, with 409 days under his belt, the least-experienced politician to become leader of a major party.
In National he just pips former leader Don Brash, who had been an MP 458 days when he took the helm off Bill English in 2003.
Brash told the Herald he didn't know Luxon well but his political inexperience would prove a challenge.
"I had the advantage of 14 years at the Reserve Bank. I was not in Parliament, but I interacted with it a lot. It's going to be a challenge for him."
Brash had backed Bridges, who he said had been "impressive".
"I hope he got a strong position."
Former National Party prime minister Jim Bolger said he thought Luxon was a good choice and would give the party a fresh start.
"He has a lot of experience managing big organisations and big teams," said Bolger, party leader from 1986 to 1997 and prime minister 1990 to 1997.
"I think the party now has a chance to restart their programme, go forward with new initiatives and policies.
"It is two years until the next election. They are a new team, they have plenty of time to put together a compelling opposition."
On Sunday Bolger told Q+A the National Party was "disappointing", and had to reimagine capitalism because social inequality is pushing countries towards revolution.
Bolger repeated the statement to the Herald, saying he hoped Luxon was the person for the job.
"Not only New Zealand but the world needs to think about it. It would be foolish to think this is the perfect model."