Bill English has signalled he still has the drive to lead the National Party, but says it's up to caucus and the party to decide if he'll keep his post as leader after his second election loss.
National got 56 seats to Labour's 46 in the 2017 election, however a coalition agreement with NZ First with a confidence and supply deal with the Greens has given New Zealand a Labour-led government.
Mr English was also leader of the National Party during the 2002 election, being beaten by a Helen Clark-led Labour Party.
When asked on TVNZ1's Breakfast if he still wanted the job as National Party leader, English said, "I think anyone could see I had fire in my belly – that's one reason we beat the Labour Party by so much."
He said the National Party as a whole has to "look to the future".
"It's not just whether I want to keep the job," he said.
English said the party has to have a "good internal" discussion, and he would be talking with his caucus this afternoon.
He said the result of the election was "not so much disappointment", but he regretted "all the progress we could have made".
"But we will be in a strong position to gold the government to account."
English thought NZ First leader Winston Peters lacked confidence during his government-deciding speech last Thursday, where he criticised the state of New Zealand's economy.
English said he thought the new government had raised expectations around social and environmental change, but had lowered expectations around the economy.