Meet the candidates: The National Party MPs vying to take leadership of the party amid a crisis

The race is on. National Party phones are ringing hot, and will be all weekend, as contenders jockey for votes and positions in a new-look line up.

The starting gun was fired when Judith Collins was ousted as leader, and Newshub understands it is Simon Bridges' intention to challenge for the job.

Wave hello to Judith Collins the backbencher, having a jolly old giggle at the pub the Backbencher - no longer the leader.

She wouldn't do any talking, unless it was about who should succeed her - ruling out backing Bridges or Mark Mitchell but throwing support behind Chris Luxon.

She was rather definitive - unlike her colleagues.

No one has publicly declared a run, but here are the front-runners.

Been there, done that, he needs no introduction - Newshub understands Simon Bridges is back for round two. 45 years old, married with three kids, a former Cabinet minister and newly published author. And of course, he has already had a spin in the leader's chair. 

Bridges was candid about a potential run on The AM Show, but didn't want to chat further - his electorate office empty and his Tauranga constituents not totally convinced.

Bridges' likely chief competitor does need an introduction.

Christopher Luxon is the newbie - one year in Parliament, he's 51, married with two kids, used to run Air New Zealand and is buddies with Sir John Key. He was also avoiding his electorate office on Friday.

And he's got his work cut out for him - starting with his own Botany constituents. 

Then there's perennial leadership contender Mark Mitchell. Rodney MP, former minister, 53 years old and five kids, he's been to actual war as a security consultant. Now he's in the midst of a political war.

And then there's Chris Bishop and Nicola Willis - the young guns.

The National Party's next steps are crucial.