NZ Election 2020: Don Brash expects 'sombre' National caucus meeting, finger-pointing to come at later stage

Don Brash expects a "sombre" mood in the National caucus room on Tuesday as the party prepares to farewell a slew of former MPs who failed to be re-elected.

Having suffered a horrific defeat over the weekend with just 26.8 percent of the vote, the National Party's team will shrink by 19 MPs. Among those who have lost their positions is Tim Macindoe, Lawrence Yule, Alfred Ngaro and Parmjeet Parmar. 

They will be farewelled at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, which Dr Brash - a former National leader - says will be a "sobering experience" for members. 

"It will be pretty sombre at this point. People will be sad to see friends departing and obviously devastated by the kind of result that National got on the election," he told Newshub.

Dr Brash was elected to Parliament in 2002 when National suffered its worst-ever defeat with just 20.9 percent of the vote. 

"Certainly in 2002… people were tearful and disappointed rather than angry," he told Newshub.

"Some people came into Parliament with an established career before they came in. They had a reputation. They had lots of things that they could do after they leave Parliament. The other people who came in somewhat earlier in their career and don't have immediate options available to them.

"Everyone will be shocked. Most people who have been defeated didn't expect to be defeated."

Speculation now turns to whether Judith Collins can stay on as leader. She's resolute she will, saying she did her best to provide stability to the party after several leadership changes, the Hamish Walker and Andrew Falloon debacles and internal rows.

Dr Brash doesn't expect there will be "angry recriminations" at this stage, but that will likely come at some stage.

"The current leader, Judith Collins, is someone I have a huge regard for. She got a hospital pass if ever there was one. Three leaders in three months, turbulence inside the caucus. She had a hell of a job to fight that election," he told Newshub.

"But nevertheless, I suspect there will be people who say 'I could have done better or someone else could have done better'. Lots of people in Parliament will think they could have done better. That is just the nature of politics."

Newshub on Monday reported that National MPs are continuing to leak. One said there's going to be a "very full and frank post-mortem" and another saying it's "highly, highly unlikely" Collins will lead the party into the 2023 election.

The current leader said on Sunday that the party will have a robust review. She revealed that the party was polling internally near 40 percent before the Auckland lockdown disrupted the election campaign. and the Denise Lee email leak cost the party 5 percentage points.