Backbenchers 'Four Amigos' key to future National leader's success

Backbenchers 'Four Amigos' key to future National leader's success

A source has told Newshub Bill English has the numbers to take over John Key's spot as Prime Minister, after Mr Key announced his resignation on Monday.

But it hasn't been easy sailing for Mr English to get there.

There's a secret squad within the party he's had to convince - the so-called 'Four Amigos' who represent National's backbench.

Todd Muller, Chris Bishop, Mark Mitchell and Alfred Ngaro are in a four-way backbench bromance.

Mr Ngaro isn't keen on naming themselves the 'Four Amigos', concerned people would start thinking about the 1986 comedy The Three Amigos.

But instead of bad dancers, these guys are calculated leadership number-crunchers, rallying the backbench - which is crucial in this race.

There are 59 MPs in National and the new leader needs the support of 30 of them to win.

There are 31 ministers, whips, or Speakers, and there are 28 backbenchers.

Mr English knows a thing or two about caucus cabals - he was part of the so-called 'Brat Pack' in the 1990s. Also in that era was New Zealand First's 'Tight Five'.

The 'Four Amigos' formed their squad during the Northland by-election and it's gone from strength to strength, so which way are they leaning?

"I think we need a combination of experience and stability, but also a refresh and rejuvenation," Mr Mitchell says.

"Regenerating and refreshing has always been part of those character values," Mr Ngaro says.

The 'Four Amigos' are essentially the leaders of the backbenches and although all 29 backbench MPs are unlikely to vote for the same candidate, the Amigos will pay a big role in influencing those who are still unsure who to go for.