In many respects, National made the right call. If Simon Bridges had won, what would we have found out? That he had a bunch of people in his own caucus who didn't think he could do the job. And if they didn't think that, why should we?

The way they've handled it, though, has been abysmal.

If Bridges was your problem, if Bridges wasn't the answer, that didn't happen yesterday, last week, or when Covid-19 struck. It happened when they gave him the job.


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Which is why Steven Joyce should have had it. And how many people now look back and concede that would have been a better choice?

The unfairness for Bridges is he didn't get a crack at an election. He did the crappy work, the hard yards, and got shafted with the finish line in sight.

After one of the National Party’s worst poll results, leader Simon Bridges talks to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking. Audio / Newstalk ZB

And so to Todd Muller. What a job. Who is he? Is he any different from Bridges? He's liked, he's bright, but then so are many of them. Being affable isn't a skill, it's what you are born with.

The key here is, is there a magic? The X-factor? Is there something that transforms him from just another decent person who aspires to lead their party, and therefore their country, into a person who actually attracts votes, turns tides, explains things in a way people get? Is he something or someone that has that magnetic factor that marks you out as different from the rest?

That is what's needed now. The polls will close, they always do.

National are good at the economy, they always have been. But not only does Muller need to introduce himself, and convince enough people he has all the aforementioned qualities, but then he needs to set about dismantling the Government's approach to the economic catastrophe besetting this country.

Is he the Jacinda Ardern to Labour's Andrew Little? Who would know. He's not female or that young, and he's not as well known as she was.

Mike Hosking weighs in as Simon Bridges' faces a coup in the National party.

If this is a salvage job, like they're merely looking to stem the flow, that's an easier job. But he claims he's not. If they're looking for a real chance at the big time, and he claims he is, they've taken a massive panicked risk. I wish them well.

Because above all else, no matter what side you're on, or who you support, it is critical like it never has been to have an effective, functioning, united and experienced opposition making the government honest, and offering genuine choice to the punter.