He leaves on his own terms, not on a high — because he got stiffed by Winston Peters. Who, by the way, was at his very worst by being about the only operator in Parliament who couldn't find it within themselves to say something half decent to mark the end of one of the best political careers of our time.

Bill English's real value to this country, apart from long, consistent and professional service to his party, was as finance minister.

John Key said on election night in 2014, English is one of the best, if not the best, finance ministers in the world and he was dead right.

To manage the books through the GFC and an earthquake is unheard of and unprecedented.


Just this week, the Government got another $600 million they weren't expecting on the books, and that is largely due to English and his neverending ability to remain fiscally prudent and conservative come hell or high water, or in the face of the ever-present political desire to spend it all like water.

Having dealt with him a lot, over all of his 27 years, he's improved with age.

A lot is being made of the 'old guard', that this is about generational change.

Is it? Why? Because Jacinda is popular?

The campaign he ran last year was better than I thought it would be, in fact as we sat at our election breakfast on ZB he said as much.

He enjoyed it, and he wasn't expecting to, and you could tell.

By the end, he had a spring in his step, he'd performed well in the debates, his party was polling, and as it turned out delivered a number on the night that very few thought was possible after nine years in power.

In fact if the Maori Party hadn't imploded, all of this wouldn't be happening. He'd be Prime Minister and probably deservedly so.

However, there's a couple of weeks to go, so let's not say all our goodbyes now.

For now we have a race for the next cab off the rank.

Judith Collins, Amy Adams or Simon Bridges?

Steven Joyce, Mark Mitchell or Nikki Kaye?

A lot is being made of the "old guard", that this is about generational change.

Is it? Why?

Because Jacinda is popular?

Well then pick Nikki Kaye, but that would be a mistake.

National let us not forget, or more importantly let the party not forget, are actually the most popular party. And they are for a reason.

They stand for an economic and social recipe that more people support than any other single party.

You forget or ignore that at your peril.

The economy is booming. Why? Because Labour have revolutionised it by announcing 800 reviews since they've been in office?

No, because National ran it properly.

Here's an idea, why not pick a leader who is going to carry that thinking on?

Why not back what you've done, and do more of it?

Why not look at the people who stand for the economic success story?

And tell them to take that proof and evidence to the Government and whip their butt with it .

Why not take the Government and its three-party fragility head on and expose them?

Why not pick someone whose got experience, who's articulate and isn't a liberal like Kaye and play to your strengths.

If Steven Joyce could lighten up, and be a bit more human, he'd be a rock star.

If I was in caucus I'd vote for him, because I deal with him on air every Wednesday and he has a brain the size of several planets, and is actually very witty. Let loose he could surprise.

And, like John Key, because he doesn't need to work he has a devil-may-care feel about him. If it all ends in tears it's not like he needs a job, and that brings a wonderfully liberating feeling to your work.

They tell me he doesn't have the numbers, but in a crowded field who knows?

Which leaves us with Judith, who may not have the numbers either.

But National would be making a catastrophic mistake if they selected a personal favourite over what the rest of us would want.

So ... Joyce, Collins or Bridges I can live with. Probably in that order.