National leader Christopher Luxon will announce his new finance spokesperson on Wednesday following the shock announcement of Simon Bridges' retirement on Tuesday.
The favourites for the role are Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop and deputy leader Nicola Willis. With Bishop's Covid-19 portfolio becoming less significant as the pandemic wanes, it is possible Luxon will want to move him into a more significant portfolio.
Luxon said he had "a few options" for the next finance spokesperson.
"I've got a pretty clear plan in my head as to who will do that role, but I will announce that tomorrow," Luxon said.
Luxon would not be drawn further on who he would pick, saying he wanted to focus his attention on Bridges.
There had been questions over Bridges' future in politics since he was ousted as National leader in 2020. But his clear desire to become leader once again kept him in Parliament to the 2020 election and beyond. Last November, he openly signalled his intention to contest the National leadership, following the implosion of then-leader Judith Collins.
Bridges withdrew, paving the way for Luxon to win the leadership unopposed.
After Luxon won that contest, he appointed Bridges finance spokesman, a role Bridges appeared to enjoy, which suggested he would stick around until the next election, and possibly become minister in the next government should National win.
But Bridges came to the conclusion that another election wasn't in him. On Monday he told Luxon he'd retire. He informed the rest of the caucus on Tuesday morning, before going public.
Bridges said stepping aside from politics would mean more time with his family.
"More important to me than being a politician or a businessman, I'm a partner to Natalie and dad to Emlyn, Harry, and Jemima. This week my oldest two children turn 10 and 8 years old, and I want to be able to give them the best of me," Bridges said.
Bridges said there was no perfect time to leave politics and he still loved the job.
"I still love it. Even the bad times have been good," he said.
"There are things about this place I will miss. But what is also true is for me at 45, 14 years in Parliament, it is a good time for National, good time for my family, good time for me."
He suggested he was keen to explore "commercial opportunities", and hinted that this could involve something in the media world. Bridges added it was "too soon" to say whether he'd been offered another job.
Bridges has represented the seat of Tauranga since 2008, succeeding one-term National MP Bob Clarkson. There, he fought off an attempt by NZ First leader Winston Peters to win back the seat.
Bridges worked his way quickly up the National ranks, becoming a Energy and Transport Minister in the last National government. He became leader following Bill English's decision to retire in 2018. As leader, Bridges posted consistently high polling for the party, which was polling well enough to win the 2020 election in February that year.
But Covid battered National's fortunes hard, leading to the party's support plunging to the 20s, triggering Bridges' eventual ouster.
Bridges will stay in Parliament for the next few weeks, but his resignation as an MP will trigger a by-election in the seat.
National is expected to win. Luxon said that over the summer the party had been approached by many candidates keen to contest the next election, suggesting one of these people may become the party's Tauranga candidate.
Labour is likely to put up Jan Tinetti, who has previously stood in the seat. Peters himself could try to re enter Parliament through the by-election, and has not ruled-out standing.
As for what Bridges may do in retirement, he detailed one as yet unfulfilled ambition in his recent book, National Identity.
Bridges said he would "treat [him]self to a bottle of Pétrus, a wine from Bordeaux that retails for about $6000.
He wrote he'd be particularly keen on a 1982 vintage - the year of his wife, Natalie's birth - which retails at about $12,000. Natalie would have a glass, Bridges said and Bridges would wash down the rest with "a couple of McDonald's Big Macs".
"Despite the difference between them, both the red wine and red meat are world class icons in their own way and, I believe, a match that would be made in heaven," Bridges said.