A former National Party President says Richardson could be a "fantastic" party leader, get party to 40 percent overnight

The AM Show 20/05/2020

A former National Party President says Mark Richardson could be a "fantastic" party leader, believing he would get the party out of the dumps it finds itself in now.

The latest Newshub-Reid-Research poll has National on a troubling 30.6 percent, far below Labour on 56.5 percent. The minor parties are also struggling, with the Greens on 5.5 percent, New Zealand First below the threshold on 2.7 percent, and Act on 1.8 percent.

The dire results will likely agitate National MPs concerned about their jobs come the September election. Newshub Political Editor Tova O'Brien says the "end of his leadership is nigh", while former party President Michelle Boag thinks Bridges will be challenged within the next two weeks.

So who could replace him? Judith Collins is likely the frontrunner, according to political commentator Bryce Edwards. She's shown a desire for the job in the past and has a public profile unrivalled by any other obvious contenders, such as Todd Muller or Mark Mitchell. Former Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has been pegged as a future leader but isn't yet in caucus, needing to win the Botany electorate at the election.

The AM Show host Ryan Bridge asked Boag who could take on Ardern at the election.

"Think of those debates, Jacinda Ardern there, public loves her, who is standing next to her at that podium?" Bridge said.

While Boag said it was unclear at this stage, Richardson, the former cricketer turned television host and sports reader, piped up. 

"I was looking on Newshub the other day and there was a splitscreen of me next to Ardern. It looked pretty good actually."

Boag was all for it.

"Actually Mark would be fantastic," she said.

"Mark would probably get us up to 40 percent overnight. I'd back you. Trouble is, you are not in the caucus... But you could be, just not on these numbers."

Bridge said: "He is not very disciplined" before Richardson admitted he wasn't a team player. 

"You don't have to be a team player. You just have to be well-liked," Bridge replied.

Despite all the speculation, Bridges is confident in his leadership. Labour's high marks came during a time where there was "wall to wall coverage of the Government" and it's COVID-19 remarks. 

Edwards told Newshub that most incumbent governments around the world were being rewarded during the crisis. 

Throughout the world we are actually seeing incumbent governments being rewarded by the public for their handling of this crisis. So we shouldn't be entirely surprised that Labour is going so far ahead of their main opponents in the poll," he said.

"It just seems very unlikely that this Government is going to lose power. So really, National is in a lot of trouble. It is setting up the Labour Party to be able to govern alone after the next election."