Bill English has given Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett a special role in involving National's backbench more in the party.
The move comes after bids by Jonathan Coleman for Prime Minister and Simon Bridges for Deputy Prime Minister were mounted on the back of disgruntlement by backbenchers that they were shut out of the action.
English said there was a natural opportunity for broader caucus involvement in the 2017 election year.
He acknowledged the domination of Key in selling the Government.
"We are also going to be running a broader team because the Prime Minister had a capacity that took up a lot of political space," English said.
"Any Government gets involved in its own processes.
"There is an opportunity now to clear the decks somewhat, to get focused on the policies we want to take to election year and of necessity, that requires the caucus to be involved."
Bennett told reporters she had worked closely with backbenchers on climate change issues and she wanted to get the best out of them.
"I'm going to be working with them really closely on our policy manifesto next year, how we do that."
English introduced his new deputy leader as a smart, accomplished, energetic woman and someone who had had an inspiring journey from teenage solo mum to Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand.
She said the past few days had been a time of reflection for her and her family.
"There was a moment when I was a 17-year-old Maori solo mum in Taupo, I'd left school with no qualifications, didn't have a job, it looked pretty bleak actually.
"I reckon it is a credit to this country more that there are opportunities and actually you get a second chance and if you step up to them and then step in, New Zealanders reward you for that hard work."
She said she was incredibly proud of her Maori heritage.
"I grew up certainly knowing I was Tainui, recognising that, certainly through my grandmother in the Waikato.
"I know where I come from and I know what that means."
Bennett is National's first woman deputy leader and Deputy Prime Minister.
Helen Clark was Deputy Prime Minister to Sir Geoffrey Palmer and many years later went on to be Prime Minister.
Jenny Shipley was National's and New Zealand's First woman Prime Minister.
Winston Peters was New Zealand's first Maori Deputy Prime Minister.