If the likeable Simon Bridges had taken the prize they would have bought themselves two years of trouble and that's the last thing they need in the run-up to the next election.
The trouble wouldn't have been instigated by Bridges it would have been stirred up by the handful of MPs still loyal to Judith Collins and by the crusher herself who threw their support behind Christopher Luxon.
But the likelihood of those loyal to Bridges, and Bridges himself, getting behind the Luxon leadership, is much greater than it would have been with the Collins' clique.
Luxon's taken the leadership long before he would have wanted to. His lack of political experience has been talked about a lot and he will be the least experienced leader of the Opposition, in recent history.
He may have been elected to Parliament just over a year ago, but he's spent much of his time locked down in Auckland.
Luxon's lack of experience is made up for his impressive business portfolio, successfully leading New Zealand's iconic airline. He's also a student of politics, studying the make-up of Cabinets going back to the turn of the century and looking at what makes them work.
In preparation of the leadership, he also did a crash course in te Reo.
In the end National got what it wanted, an uncontested leadership by consensus, even if it was forced upon many of the 33 MPs.
With the new broom it will allow National to build a unified party in the two years running up to the next election, something that has evaded them ever since the divisive Judith Collins took over the job after the disastrous stint by Todd Muller.
Bridges met with Luxon this morning and says he had a great discussion. Of could he did, knowing that he couldn't win, he would have extracted the prize job, expected to be the finance portfolio in return for his loyalty.
"He (Luxon) will make a brilliant National leader and Prime Minister," and given what the party's been through in recent years that's a big wish.
With the country emerging from Covid, the concentration over the next few years will be heavily on the economy and business and that's where Luxon, appointed by Jacinda Ardern to head her business advisory council in 2018, will shine.