Bill English 'focused on leading National back into government'

National leader Bill English says he's going to lead National back into government, despite there being talk within his caucus of a new leader.

This afternoon, Mr English gave his State of the Nation address at a Business Central meeting in Wellington. While he didn't speak about a potential change at National's helm, he did briefly address the media's interest in the story before beginning his speech.

"A bit of leadership speculation sure does turn out the journalists for lunch," he said. "I hope someone feeds them so they get in a good mood."

Before giving his address, he said he was "focused on leading National back into Government".

Earlier this morning, National MP Sarah Dowie told Newshub there had been "a bit of talk" about who the party's next leader might be.

However her colleague Louise Upston said: "I think that talk's ridiculous, and I don't know where that's come from."

National's Todd Muller said: "support for Bill is huge".

Newshub political reporter Lloyd Burr says there's "no way" Mr English will lead the National Party into the next election.

"This is something that's been talked about for quite a long time," he told The AM Show.

"There have been discussions going on since the last election."

But reports that Mr English's resignation is imminent are overblown, Burr says.

He is expected to be allowed to choose the time of his departure, and leave gracefully.

Simon Bridges is tipped to be the top contender for the job. 

Newshub.