1 NEWS political editor weighs in on what's next for National after Todd Muller's 'really surprising move'

Despite a bad week for National, 1 NEWS' political editor Jessica Mutch McKay says today's resignation from the party's leader, Todd Muller, was a shock.

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Jessica Mutch McKay discussed with TVNZ1’s Breakfast what comes next for the party, just months out from the election. Source: Breakfast

Mr Muller rolled Simon Bridges to take leadership in May, but his time in the top seat for National has been a rough ride.

Last week, National's Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker announced he wouldn't run at September's election after he confessed to leaking confidential Covid-19 patient information to the media.

Michelle Boag, who was the former National Party president and has long-standing involvement with National, stepped aside from the party for her involvement in the leak. She gave the information to Mr Walker, having abused her position as acting CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

However, Mutch McKay said Mr Muller's announcement this morning was still a shock, and that she couldn't think of another person to have a shorter term as a political party leader than his five weeks.

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He has only been in the role for a short time, after ousting Simon Bridges. Source: Breakfast

"This is a really surprising move. It came as a shock to I think a lot of people this morning," she told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

"Absolutely, he had a terrible week last week and a story that could have gone away in a couple of days dragged on all week and really hit him, and I think there were questions about whether he was up front with the public on that, absolutely. But most people would ride out that."

The National Party is holding an emergency caucus meeting this morning to try find a new leader.

Names thrown around have been current deputy leader Nikki Kaye, as well as Judith Collins, Mark Mitchell, Amy Adams and even former leader Simon Bridges.

"We know that being opposition leader is the toughest gig in politics, but this is a very bold move 10 weeks out from the election," Mutch McKay said.

In his statement, Mr Muller said: "The role has taken a heavy toll on me personally, and on my family, and this has become untenable from a health perspective."

Mr Muller is keen to stay on as the local MP for the Bay of Plenty.

Mutch McKay said the announcement puts National in a similar position to Labour last election, when Jacinda Ardern took leadership at a similar time.

"From logistical perspective the billboards are up, Todd Muller's face is on them. So from a logistic point of view you'd have to turn around that really fast," she said.

"That's manageable, that's doable. But it never looks good if you're switching around leaders. I mean, we're turning into Australia with their Prime Minister just flicking them in, flicking them out, flicking them in and I think that's not good for certainty, it's not good for loyalty for the party."