Bay of Plenty locals react to Todd Muller's resignation as National Party leader

The shock felt in former National Party leader Todd Muller's Bay of Plenty electorate quickly turned into nerves, with party faithfuls worried about the looming election.

Muller announced his resignation as the party's leader on Tuesday morning after performing the role for 53 days.

The people of Bay of Plenty town Papamoa, where Muller lives, are recovering from their short-lived stint as the home of the Opposition leader, with many surprised at his exit.

"I thought he was doing okay [as leader]," one local told Newshub.

"Thought he did a better job here as an MP," another said.

"It's a bit of a surprise, really," said a third.

The Bay of Plenty is also home to another former National leader, Simon Bridges, who lives near Papamoa in Tauranga.

Locals are concerned at how leadership troubles could affect National's chances at winning September's election.

"I had some hope but I don't know if I am going to go and vote this year even," one said.

"Makes me a bit nervous actually as to what's going to happen going forward," another said.

There are some practical challenges to holding onto those voters, not least of which is election billboards plastered with Muller's face.

National MP and the party's campaign chairperson Gerry Brownlee says there's an issue with getting a new leader, but it will set about rectifying that "very speedily".

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger was a mentor to Muller, and he's keen for a leader who will hold on to some Muller-like qualities.

"Not necessarily who is the most combative, who is the most this or that, but who can lead the policy debate," he says.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also has a soft spot for Muller.

"Very, very saddened to say it's come to this, but that's life," he says.

But he was brutal towards the rest of the caucus.

"You've got a discordinant, disorganised, inexperienced bunch with far too much ideology and not enough practical on the ground knowledge."

Peters wasn't the only politician who dished out the criticism, with ACT leader David Seymour joining in too.

"National changes its leaders too often, New Zealand First doesn't change it enough."

Former Labour Party leader of the Opposition David Cunliffe - who has seen his fair share of leadership crises - also shared his thoughts on Muller's resignation.

"Well, there are intense pressures and Mr Muller has found out it's not easy."

Former MP Steven Joyce once wanted to lead National and says unity is key.

"The most important thing is they get behind one person and they do that all the way until the election," he says.

That'll mean 10 weeks with no leaks or backstabbing from the National Party caucus.