A National Party leadership challenge for Judith Collins is stirring and may not be far away

Newshub can reveal the phones are ringing within the National Party caucus - a leadership challenge is stirring and could come as soon as October. 

Judith Collins' MPs aren't happy with her performance and a poll by the National Party's own pollster appears to have sealed her fate. 

After his political murder in a bloody coup followed the great redemption of Simon Bridges - the yaks, the magazines, the TV appearances, and the book which ends with: "I won't and can't throw in the towel".

Despite insisting he's not interested in the leadership job, according to some of his caucus colleagues, Bridges is making a comeback. 

Former Air New Zealand chief Christopher Luxon is thought to be biding his time, on advice from his pal, former Prime Minister and National Party leader Sir John Key. 

National MPs have told Newshub it's curtains for Collins after recent gaffes, chief among them her recent interview on Breakfast, and her comments about microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles

Sealing the deal was a poll by Curia, National's own polling company, that put the party on 21.3 percent and ACT just behind on 14.9 percent. 

ACT leader David Seymour doesn't seem fazed about his party's success potentially seeing the end of Collins' leadership of National.  

"Look, I don't look at particular politicians as being important," Seymour said. 

Collins refused to be interviewed on Thursday and her deputy Dr Shane Reti wouldn't stop to chat either. But plenty of MPs spoke anonymously to Newshub. 

These are quotes from just a few:

  • "Simon Bridges could easily get the numbers"
  • The party's on a "trajectory of horror"
  • "The pressure is getting to her"

The only National MP who would actually be interviewed was COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop, who some colleagues are picking as Bridges' potential deputy.

Newshub asked Bishop if Collins could be gone by the end of the year. 

"No, Judith Collins is doing a great job as leader."