Jenna Lynch: Mark Mitchell's slip of the truth refreshing

OPINION: Mark Mitchell let a little something slip during his National Party leadership bid announcement - the truth.

It fell out almost clumsily, but unlike some of his National Party colleagues, he didn't struggle with it.

The truth bomb was that it wasn't just the past few days he'd been considering his run for the leadership - talks had been going on for at least three weeks.

"I was actually approached originally about three weeks ago by some members of caucus and they asked me to consider running," he said.

Pretty bold, considering Bill English only announced he was stepping down six days ago.

But it didn't come across as a bold, cutting statement from Mitchell. It came across as just straight truth.

"It was something that people were starting to obviously think about - the future - and so there had been discussion around it."

That is something National MPs vehemently denied after news initially leaked that English's job might be on the line. The only other MP to admit any discussion had taken place was Sarah Dowie. The rest were prepped by National Party spin doctors to say 'Nothing to see here'.

But truth may be exactly what National needs to go up against Jacinda Ardern. Part of her charm is authenticity. National would do well to find someone with that same quality.

Mitchell has been an MP since 2011. He was quickly elevated into a Cabinet position as Minister of Defence when John Key stepped down as Prime Minister.

He has a trademark grin and though he did once survive a five-day siege in Iraq, not many would give him the nickname dealt to Key - The Smiling Assassin.

For the past decade, National has been a well-oiled spin machine. With Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson at the helm, National was disciplined - no-one strayed from the party line.

Until now.

Mitchell's statement of truth today may have been a slip of the tongue, but I hope not.

Mitchell is a straight shooter. It's refreshing.

Truth is what the public deserves from the people in the halls of power and his leadership rivals should look to him as an example.

Jenna Lynch is a Newshub political reporter.