Rumours of exodus from National Party after non MPs invited to secretive political retreat

A National Party retreat is underway with a big question hanging in the air: Is there about to be an exodus of senior MPs?

Some unexpected people have been invited, five candidates who didn't make it into Parliament but are waiting in the wings.

It appears they're being primed to fill some yet-to-be-announced vacancies.

The Tauranga waterfront is a scenic spot for a secretive political retreat, the venue's not bad either.

There's even a place to park the private yacht.

But there's trouble in paradise, political trouble.

"I think everyone after they lose an election has a think about [resigning]," said National leader Bill English.

He's not the only one - there's a handful of MPs rumoured to be doing the same.

Nick Smith, Christopher Finlayson, Michael Woodhouse, Nicky Wagner and Steven Joyce are all rumoured to be considering resigning.

They didn't want to admit it on Thursday.

"Nope," said Mr Smith.

"Why should I?" said Mr Finlayson.

"No," said Mr Woodhouse.

"I think about everything every day," said Ms Wagner.

"Hahahahahahah no," said Mr Joyce.

David Carter's also rumoured to go although he was a no-show today.

Several people are nipping at their heels, especially those next in line on the party list.

While the party's training up the newbies there's a bigger challenge: the leadership.

Bill English is unlikely to take National into the next election but the question of who will take over is still open because there's no obvious successor.