So let's deal with what we've got so far. Simon Bridges, Amy Adams and Judith Collins. Aged 41, 46 and 58 - if age is an issue for all those gripped by this generational change bollocks.

Generational change is fine but not if that's all it is, let us never forget the value of experience and talent.

So who's winning? Collins, hands down.

On the Herald website, look at their pitches. Adams was clever, she turned up outside, flanked by Maggie Barry, Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop.


Bridges turned up by himself in the hallway of Parliament. This should not matter, but everything matters. Looks matter, sound matters, dress matters, what you say matters and how you say it matters.

And that's why Judith Collins wins so far. She came out swinging, she articulated a couple of critically important things. One, she lined up her opponent in the Prime Minister, the other two didn't. She gave her credit and due respect - but left no doubt the fight was on.

And two, she had a message, she had a plan, and she had a plan in plain speak. It's hard work, it's a tough game, and we are here to win. The other two were talking CVs. Adams especially.

Adams was wonderfully articulate, she ticked all the boxes she undoubtedly wanted to tick. Kids, family, solo mum, humble beginnings, urban, rural... look at her pitch it was all there. But no fire, no message, it was 'hello I'm Amy, and I'm a nice person". We need more than that.

And then we had poor old Simon Bridges. Upside? He's good-looking and dresses well. And that counts. But he sounds dreadful, he sounds a mix of uncertainty and upward inflection. His head bobbles from side to side, looking like he's not quite sure what he's saying next.

Now you can argue none of this matters given none of us are voting, and that, in part, is my fear. What the caucus vote for might well be more about them and jobs promised, than what's good for the party ultimately, and the country in the long term.

Being internally popular, I would have hoped, would come second to being externally plausible.

And you can argue that Bill English struggled with words. John Howard was so boring, he made paint fascinating. Both though, successful.

You don't have to be a David Lange or a Bob Hawke or a Mike Moore, or dare I suggest a Winston Peters... either of them... to make it to the top.

But when you're coming from behind, when you have a Jacinda to outshine, polish counts. Polish and policy. Polish, policy and confidence.

And of the three, Collins has the lot in spades. If this is the race, from what we've seen, the race should be over.