NZ Election 2020: National's Melissa Lee tears up thinking of departing MPs

National's Melissa Lee teared up on Tuesday morning ahead of the party's farewell for departing MPs.

While National achieved only 26.8 percent of the vote at this year's election - meaning it is 21 seats down on 2017 - Lee was one of the lucky list MPs to survive the drubbing. 

Arriving at Parliament on Tuesday ahead of the send-off for those who have lost their jobs, Lee got emotional.

"At the moment, I have made the cut. I said to a friend of mine yesterday, I said, I am not quite sure if I can actually celebrate because there are so many of my good colleagues who are leaving. I am getting emotional," Lee told reporters.

Asked who she was going to miss the most, the MP, who's based in Mt Albert, paused for a moment, tearing up. She put her hand up, smiling: "Cut".

"Um, there are so many. Too many to mention," she said.

Lee was one of a number of National MPs to remark about the shame it is to lose so many colleagues. 

David Bennett, who lost his Hamilton East seat but remains in Parliament on the list, said it was going to be a tough day. 

"It is going to be very sad to see the departure of many great MPs, colleagues and friends," he told media. 

Matt Doocey said it was a "sad day" and that those departing were "such good people". 

Outgoing MP Tim Macindoe noted that several "outstanding colleagues" were going to be "sadly...walking through the door with me". 

He laid into those within the party who had been leaking, saying it was their fault many of the National MPs had lost their jobs. 

"Shape up or ship out. Do not stick around thinking that you are in any way advancing the interests of the party by behaving in that despicable way. You have cost a number of people their jobs," he said.

Lee said the leaks need to stop.

"That is something that I am really angry about. New Zealanders would be very disappointed at us. We just look like politicians who can't actually keep it together."

Among others to condemn leaks to the media was the party's Whip Barbara Kuriger. 

"I think there is no room in our caucus for anyone that is leaking… I stand in front of staff yesterday as the whip and say, look our resources are cutting down. Some of them have lost their bosses. I just think some of those leakers don't think about that sorta stuff," she said.

Her message to them: "Just stop it, shape up or get out."

"We have got no room for that sort of behaviour. We are only going to win if we are a team. I am focused on 2023. Everyone who remains in that room needs to be focused on 2023. That's where we have got to go."

Matt King, the National candidate for Northland whose hold on the electorate is currently on a knife-edge ahead of special votes, was blunt with his message.

"Come out and front up. Tell us who you are so we can kick you out."

Dan Bidois, who has lost his seat of Northcote to Labour, also believes the leakers need to front-up and leave.

"Encouraging a culture where people can get away with leaks is unacceptable. That will no doubt be a discussion point for today."

National is saying goodbye to 12 MPs after the election. Five of them - Harete Hipango, Jonathan Young, Tim Macindoe, Lawrence Yule and Dan Bidois - lost their electorates to Labour. 

Seven of them - Alfred Ngaro, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Parmjeet Parmar, Brett Hudson, Jo Hayes, Agnes Loheni and Paulo Garcia - have not made it back on the list because of National's poor result. 

One of the major leaks of the election campaign was when an email from MP Denise Lee to her colleagues was released to media. National leader Judith Collins revealed on Sunday that leak cost the party about 5 percentage points. 

The leaks haven't stopped, however. One MP said on Monday that there's going to be a "very full and frank post-mortem" and another said it's "highly, highly unlikely" Collins will lead the party into the 2023 election.

She's resolute she will stay though. Many of the MPs on Tuesday morning said they were 100 percent behind Collins.

"We have got to get behind the leadership. The worst possible thing would be to start getting the knives out at this point. Judith did a very good job under extraordinarily challenging circumstances," Macindoe said. 

Kuriger said the leadership team wasn't responsible for the poor result.

"No, because we have had three different forms of leadership this year. We have also had a lot of other incidents. Ex-Presidents, ex-board members, departing MPs, the leakers. 

"Judith had a very, very short time with which to pick us up. I admire it every day. She went out with a smile on her face. We knew we were up against it, we were going uphill."

Collins said on Sunday that the party will have a robust review.