Political commentator Trish Sherson urges National to stop believing new leader will be 'second-coming of John Key'

Right-leaning political commentator Trish Sherson is urging the National Party to move on from the past as it prepares to pick a new leader.

Ex-leader Simon Bridges and newcomer Christopher Luxon will face off for the leadership on Tuesday after a tumultuous few days for the party last week that saw Judith Collins' tenure as the leader come to an end. 

Sherson, a former ACT party staffer, says National needs to find a way to raise its appeal.

"I think they have to stop believing that Luxon or any new leader is the second-coming of John Key," she told The AM Show. "Luxon might be close to Key but he's not Key and the party really needs to move on from that."

Sherson said the smart move for National is to think about voters. She believed the party also needed to raise its appeal to women.

"They're making this decision today… not [for] who they want but who can actually attract middle voters of New Zealand and that's men and women - that's really important because they're really lagging in terms of attracting women voters."

Former National MP and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, appearing on The AM Show alongside Sherson, is throwing his support behind new blood to head the party.

Coleman believes Luxon is the best bet.

"They need someone who can heal these massive divisions," Coleman said. "The public are wanting to see some movement forward. They want to forget about all these terrible fights National has had."

Coleman said the party needed to be strategic to win back voters.

He said whoever wins the leadership race needed to be careful when picking their Caucus.

"You've got to have gender balance, you've got to have regional balance, you've also got to have conservative and liberal."

Coleman called on the party to think of the voters when choosing the new leader.

"It has to be a unity team and a unity message," he said.

Political commentator and former National press secretary Ben Thomas said hopefully the battle for the leadership doesn't get nasty - as that's the last thing the party needed.

"The best thing for the party is if Bridges and Luxon can work out an accommodation between themselves," Thomas told Newshub.

According to Thomas, Bridges was the party's safest bet.

"He can run a Caucus, he can run an office, he can keep on message - all things that Judith Collins really struggled with," Thomas said. 

However, Thomas said didn't envy whoever took Collins' place.

"A lot of Opposition leaders have struggled with that step up from being a competent MP to that 24/7… questions and scrutiny you get as the leader as the Opposition."

The National Party meets at 3pm to make a decision.