Will Bill English call it quits on politics?

While Labour's planning its transition to the Beehive, National's packing up its offices for the move to the Opposition benches.

National leader Bill English is yet to decide if he'll move out of politics for good.

Exhausted and emotional, Mr English thanked his family last night and conceded that he'd lost the election and the Prime Ministership.

He told reporters he'd called Jacinda Ardern to congratulate her on becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand.

He's been here before, making the same phone call to Helen Clark in 2002 after he led National to its worst ever election result with just 21 percent of the vote.

Ffiteen years later, a reinvigorated Bill English wanted redemption.

Asked at Newshub's Leaders Debate about what was different about him since he last ran to be Prime Minister, he replied: "I got up again."

But not up enough. Despite getting the most votes and 10 more seats than Labour, Mr English lost again.

"MMP means that we do not get the opportunity to form that Government," he said on Thursday night.

He's been an MP for 27 years - so is it time to call it quits on politics? In the leadup to the election, it was an emphatic "no" when asked if he'd resign if he ended up in opposition.

But now, the door is open. Asked if it was an option Thursday night, Mr English said: "That's a matter for the next few weeks, for us to discuss among ourselves."

If he does bow out, there's no shortage of replacements. There's his deputy Paula Bennett, while others who'll fight for the leadership could include Simon Bridges, Amy Adams, Jonathan Coleman and Judith Collins.

There'll likely be an exodus of senior MPs - those who don't want to languish on the Opposition benches, like David Carter, Steven Joyce, Chris Finlayson and Nick Smith.

If that's the case, there'll be an influx of new MPs too, like Wellington's Nicola Willis.

But for the meantime, Mr English will let it all sink in, and National will have to get used to being in Opposition.