Today National picks its new leader. We finally get to see who got the numbers, who promised the most carrots, who worked it better than the rest.

It will also be a reflection of the direction National is looking to take moving forward.

That's possibly of more interest than the actual leader pick today. Why?

Because it will show us two things: one, whether Jacinda-mania has spooked them, and by how much; and two, how they're looking to get back on top. Are they looking to rebrand, move more to the right - or left - is it old-guard established players, or a fresh page with new young blood?


Maybe it'll be a mix of the two.

Whomever they choose, will reveal most of those answers.

I started the leadership race, in my capacity as just another sideline punter, picking Amy Adams. Smart, hard-working, well-liked internally, female (does that still count?) and a person who still seems in touch with the real world. She seemed strong, consistent and potentially great leadership material.

But I picked her before Mark Mitchell threw his hat in the ring and before we knew anything about him. Once we heard from him, I liked him and I rated him. But it's not his time, he doesn't have the numbers apparently. I still believe he's one to watch long-term though.

So what have we got from the original five? Well now allegedly a three-horse race: Simon Bridges, Amy Adams, Steven Joyce.

Each of those contenders has of course been talking up their chances, claiming to have great support, and feeling "confident" - they can spin those lines until they're blue in the face, what counts is what happens inside that caucus meeting room: who drops out first, who picks up the leftovers.

As mere sideline pundits our views, picks and opinions are completely irrelevant, of course - how we see it is not necessarily how "they" see it. Internal popularity and party direction is more important than name recognition and noise in public. That's partly why Judith Collins is out.

If it's Joyce, it's a nod to the old-guard established power players - and a signal the party wants to keep trucking its current course. It's a solid choice, but he brings baggage that an Adams or a Bridges doesn't.


That $11 billion hole thing is going to follow him around, you just know it. If it's him, he'll never get a word in edgeways in the House because the Government will just keep shouting "eleven billion dollar hole!" at him every time he opens his mouth.
(Unless the hole is found between now and 2020.)

Bridges has talked himself up the most, but that's just talk until we know the numbers. It may well be him, but my pick is Adams.

She has time to develop her "image", to get some runs on the board in the eyes of the public, she's well-liked inside caucus already.

Today's choice is about more than just the leader though, it's about the future direction of this party, so I wish them luck. They're going to need it.