One of Helen Clark’s big insecurities was she liked loyalty at all costs. This mean’t she had a heap of useless MPs that were loyal, and did not move them on. It wasn’t until 2008 that there was a substantial intake of new MPs, when twelve made it through.
Regeneration at the end of the third term was far too late, and she should have moved people on earlier. She didn’t and Labour suffered as there were few good leadership options, or front bench options, with experience and without the taint of Clark’s failed government.
National need to consider this carefully. The PM should not allow caucus to tell him and the party they are all awesome and none need replacing. There are a good number of total plonkers in the National caucus, and others who offer very little, and still more that are simply in the wrong place. Some are proven failures. All will be going for the list, and all will demand a position higher than anyone new.
This should be resisted. Being an MP doesn’t make you competent. National would be better off getting rid of some MPs who are no good and bringing in some fresh blood. If that means some non-entity MPs get their nose out of joint tell them to bugger off. Hammer one or two of them to make the others understand that there are consequences to not going when you are pushed.