COMMENT:

Forget Judith Collins.

Forget Simon Bridges.

If Christopher Luxon's resignation from Air New Zealand is the first step towards him joining the National Party, then we have a new contender for National Party leader.

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And not just National Party leader, but National Party Prime Minister.

Christopher Luxon is said to be firmly focused on becoming PM. I'm told he's considered how to time his run in order to maximise his chances at becoming PM. He's said to have studied Jacinda Ardern's elevation from MP to leader to Prime Minister - with a view to emulating it.

You can never really call these things with accuracy, but Luxon may well have what it takes.

He's good on TV. He's got warmth and likeability. That counts for a lot. It's what makes Jacinda Ardern popular.

He's got economic credentials. He's spent seven years running one of the most popular companies in the country. Economic credentials matter, especially to National voters. It's at least part of what made John Key popular.

He has green credentials. Under his leadership, Air New Zealand has pitched itself quite aggressively as something of a "green" airline. That matters to the National Party which is keen on neutering any suggestion they're being left behind on climate-change politics.

And he's got conservative credentials. He's a Christian and a family man. Again, that matters, especially to National Party voters.

He's not saying just yet what he'll do. But there's a hint in his press release with him saying he'll consider how to further contribute to New Zealand, "whether that be through corporate life, politics or not for profit". It's also interesting that he was scheduled to speak to the National Party caucus last Thursday.

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If National wants him, the party has a couple of safe seats they can give him. Botany is up for grabs now that Jami-Lee Ross has broken away from National. Epsom could be up for grabs if Act doesn't start polling better.

Christopher Luxon might well be the next National Party leader - and New Zealand's next PM.