Outgoing Prime Minister Bill English is expected to be strongly endorsed to stay on as National Party leader when his caucus meets at Parliament tomorrow afternoon.

English's deputy, Paula Bennett, is also expected to remain in her post.

They are not the only ones staying put despite the third term Government being tipped out of office.

Outgoing Finance Minister Steven Joyce says he is not going anywhere.


It is the first time the National Party caucus has met since being rejected by New Zealand First last Thursday when leader Winston Peters made the announcement.

English would not confirm last night he plans to stay on as leader.

"It's a matter for the caucus to deal with."

But after extensive soundings, the Herald understands there is no mood in caucus to replace English, who had been leader for only nine months when he led the party to a result virtually the same as John Key's first victory in 2008.

It wants a period of stability to concentrate on the new Government.

Asked what had been doing since the Thursday announcement, English said: "I've been organising to move out of the office, communicating with my colleagues and supporters extensively at a time when people need to be talking and, in between, catching up with a few things I should have done nine months ago at home. "

New Zealand First, which had the balance of power with nine MPs after the September election, held parallel negotiations with National (56 MPs) and Labour (46 MPs) over 12 days and finally opted for a coalition with Labour supported by the Green Party (eight MPs).

The three parties in Government command 63 votes in the 120 seat Parliament, while National has 56, and Act 1.


Steven Joyce, who could resign as a list MP with no inconvenience, confirmed last night he was not planning to resign.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm more than happy to continue," he said.

"The New Zealand economy had been one of the top performers in terms of job growth and income growth and it was predicted to be strong over the next three or four years.

"There is remarkably unanimity between the forecasters as to what is likely to happen if the current economic programme is largely continued.

"It is going to be a real test on the new Government to ensure that opportunities are taken and that Kiwis do well and I will be there to help critique it."

Joyce questioned Winston Peters' gloomy preamble to his announcement in which he suggested a major economic downturn was looming and that New Zealand First should not be blamed for it.


Joyce: "Nobody is arguing it is perfect but to suggest that the end of the world is nigh is really over-doing it.

"I think many New Zealanders would have been very surprised to hear that on Thursday night given their own personal circumstances and their experiences in the regions around the country and what they know about the progress of New Zealand relative to other countries."