Speculation is mounting that North Shore MP Maggie Barry will seek the leadership of the National Party, after she told reporters there would be no CBD rail link.
The gardening guru's decision not to proceed with the rail link, only a couple of days after being elected in a safe seat, surprised many commentators. This has in turn led to speculation that Barry may have the numbers to replace John Key, and that Barry is confident she will shortly have the power to kill the rail project.
While Key is regarded as a strong campaigner and a crucial asset to the National Party, it is understood that some caucus members prefer a leader with more hands-on gardening experience.
Critics have been impressed by Barry's campaign for the North Shore seat, and credit her winning the seat to the fact that she was a member of the National Party.
"Had Ms Barry decided to contest the seat for Labour she would have lost, " observed right-wing blogger and newspaper columnist Hansell Le Rou.
"Joining the National Party was a brilliant tactical move that ensured she delivered the North Shore seat safe and sound to National. As opposed to any other National candidate, who would have done the same thing.
"Well done, Maggie. You have pulled one out of the bag for the party!"
"Barry's decision to be both sentient and human has saved the party a lot of potential grief," said former National MP Donald Grout.
"Had National stood a mule or a chicken for the North Shore seat, the
inevitably victorious animal may have been subjected to a messy legal
challenge following the election.
"We might have seen much the same thing had the party stood a jar of marmalade as its candidate. I've no doubt the jar of marmalade would have won comfortably, but some litigious busybody may have objected.
"Having a living, breathing human as the North Shore MP avoids such an unnecessary distractions. We owe Ms Barry a debt of gratitude."
Ms Barry denied she was looking at the National leadership.
"I have only been in the job a couple of days," she told reporters from her garden as she planted a row of Imperial Hubris flowers.
"I'm still finding my feet and there's so much to learn. I won't have time to think about the National Party leadership until later in the week."