National MPs have arrived in Tauranga for a two-day caucus meeting. Among them are its "reserves bench" - the next four candidates on the party list to become an MP if current list MPs resign.

There has been speculation David Carter and Chris Finlayson may go rather than sit out a term in Opposition.

National leader Bill English said none of his MPs had indicated they wanted to go, but it would not surprise him if some left.

"It's possible. We always work on making sure the team understands what's going on so we have people ready, willing or able."


The "reserves" are Maureen Pugh, Nicola Willis, Agnes Loheni and Paulo Garcia.

All said they would take up the chance to get into Parliament if it came up.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow said there was usually some turnover during the term so it was prudent to ensure those in the wings were up to speed.

"The more up to speed they are with the whole party, that will ease their transition if some of them are lucky enough to get in in the next three years."

He also was not aware of any imminent resignations.

Goodfellow said he intended to put his name forward to stay on as president when the election held at the Party's annual conference in July.

All but five of National's 56 MPs are at the caucus meeting, in a waterfront hotel in Tauranga.

English said it would focus on what National had to do to get back in government in 2020, including policy and the approach to the Opposition.


It will not be on the formal agenda, but MPs will also be turning their minds to the leadership and what might happen if English decided to resign.

Asked if he had considered resigning, English said "I think everyone after they lose an election has a think about it".

"But we are busy here, focused on the 2020 election and getting organised. We have had a pretty intensive focus among the leadership bedding into Opposition. It's a big change from Government and we are now setting out the path to 2020."

English has never ruled out stepping down before 2020 and said whether he was still leader in 2020 was "dependent on performance".

"I've been in Opposition before, I know how that works."

English said there would be no routine vote on the leadership as that had happened soon after the election when he and deputy Paula Bennett were confirmed in their positions.

The five MPs missing from caucus were Andrew Bayly and David Carter who were on select committee business, and Simon O'Connor, Kanwaljit Bakshi Singh and Melissa Lee were on leave.

The list candidates at the caucus all said they would take up a slot if it opened.

Willis, a former staffer for former Prime Minister John Key, said caucus would be thinking about how it could earn the right to govern in 2020 and it was a privilege to be invited.

"I'm in no rush, there's lots of ways to contribute to the National Party. If I do get into Parliament it will be a wonderful opportunity."

Pugh, who was in Parliament last term, said it was a good initiative to have the list candidates at the meeting "so that we are up to date with what's going on".

"If we get a call, we are ready to go and fully informed about where the party is heading and some of the policy being worked on."

Pugh had made it back into Parliament on the election night results but dropped off once the final votes were counted.

Agnes said she had no idea when an opportunity might come up, but she would "absolutely" take it if it did.

MPs seemed in good spirits at the start of the meeting.

Many of those who arrived last night had walked up Mauao this morning.