Newshub has been told from within the National Party caucus that, although unlikely, it's not impossible that Judith Collins will be rolled before the year is out.
The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows who National voters would like to take over the reins. It comes as Newshub can reveal that National hasn't done any internal polling since the election last year.
National MPs flew into Wellington on Monday for a planned caucus meeting. It was awkward timing - just as the leader's popularity is in free-fall.
The question put to MPs as they arrived at the capital: is Judith Collins toast?
"Oh no, sorry, it's too close to breakfast to be talking about toast," said National MP Chris Penk.
"Ah look, I always support our leader," said National MP Paul Goldsmith.
A note to National MPs: the correct answer is always 'no'. But Collins has taken the biggest preferred Prime Minister tumble we've seen in our Newshub-Reid Research poll.
Only about 5 percent of New Zealanders can see Collins as Prime Minister.
"I know the feeling," said former leader Simon Bridges.
We all remember how that turned out - not well. The question is then, who should be the leader of the National Party?
"Look, I always support our leader," said Goldsmith.
"Judith Collins is the leader," said National MP Michael Woodhouse.
"Judith is the leader of the National Party," said National MP Mark Mitchell.
So we've established Collins is the leader.
Newshub asked voters the same question - unprompted - and looking where it counts, National voters, there was a sign of apathy within the party.
Most - 33.3 percent - don't know or don't care.
Judith Collins gets a less-than-resounding 30.6 percent, Christopher Luxon is next in line to the throne on 16 percent, and then there are the dregs - Simon Bridges on 4.3 percent and Chris Bishop on 1.8 percent.
Bishop wouldn't say if he's interested in the leadership when approached by Newshub.
"I'm just getting into my Uber, thanks."
Former leadership hopeful Mark Mitchell didn't even register on the radar. He told Newshub he's not interested anymore.
"No, absolutely not."
So, ex-Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon is shaping up to be the anointed one, but is unlikely to make any sudden movements - even though some of his colleagues think he could be quite good.
"Who knows? He did alright at Air New Zealand," said National MP Stuart Smith.
National MP Melissa Lee said Luxon "may one day" make a good leader, "but he's not the leader".
As for when he could be leader, Lee said: "When caucus elects him, I guess."
Collins' knock in the polls follows dogged questioning about Māori race relations, which began with the Government's announcement of a Māori Health Authority.
But unlike National, the country backs it.
The Newshub-Reid Research poll asked: Do you support the idea of a Māori Health Authority?
The answer was yes, with a 52.2 percent majority, while 37.7 percent said no, and 10.1 percent didn't know.
Most National voters - 65.3 percent - are opposed. But a third of them - 30.3 percent - support the Māori Health Authority, while 4.4 percent didn't know.
It begs the question: Do National MPs support Collins' race row?
There was silence from National MP Matt Doocey, while Todd McClay denied it was a race row.
National MP Andrew Bayly said he was "comfortable" with the dialogue and complemented Collins for "being careful with her wording".
But it was perhaps not careful enough for most New Zealanders.
Collins has completely misread the room on race relations. It might play well with some in the National Party base, it might entice back some National voters who went to ACT - but wider, centre New Zealand doesn't dig it, and that's where elections are won and lost.
Collins argues otherwise, though she might have better clarity if she had polling to rely on, but Newshub can reveal National hasn't done any internal polling since the election. It used to be weekly.
Remember, Bridges got so much grief for not showing his caucus the internal numbers when they got bad.
So how do you get around not showing your MPs terrible polls? Ensure there aren't any polls to show.
Collins refused to do an interview with Newshub on Monday, but we've heard from within her caucus that although unlikely, it's not impossible she'll be moved against by the end of the year.