Amy Adams 'excited' by Todd Muller's National Party, hints at proposing welfare changes

The AM Show 26/05/2020

Amy Adams is "excited" by the new-look National Party with three women in Todd Muller's top five team.

The National Party revealed its reshuffled caucus on Monday, with Todd Muller leading the way, followed by deputy Nikki Kaye, Adams, Judith Collins and then Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith.

Adams announced her retirement from politics last year, but amid the leadership change on Friday, there was speculation she would rescind that decision and return to the upper echelons of the National Party. That was confirmed on Monday when she appeared alongside Muller at his press conference. 

Adams, who has taken the new COVID-19 Recovery portfolio, told The AM Show that it was all hands on deck in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has caused economic mayhem across the globe. She said she had the support of her children to remain in politics.

"The world has changed. New Zealand has changed. Everyone knows we are facing just the most incredible set of challenges and I have taken the view that it is all hands on deck. Todd asked me to stay and be part of that. If he wants my help and thinks that I can contribute, then I want to do that," she said.

The Selwyn MP said Muller formally asked her to stay on over the weekend, but confirmed they had spoken about her future in the National Party in the weeks prior to Muller rolling Simon Bridgers as leader.

"Over the weeks, as COVID was becoming more and more serious and we were understanding the challenges, we had been having discussions about that and Todd did say to me a number of times 'Amy, I think you are a loss, the party would be well served if you were here'.

"But he was in no position to offer me a job then, and he didn't. That happened after the leadership change".

She said she was excited by the new team put together by Muller, which has three women in the top five.

"Todd and the Supremes. Todd's got a range of women around him and it is a great thing. A leader who welcomes a range of voices to sit around a table, to challenge each other, to get the best outcome is a really good environment to be working in and I am excited by it," Adams said.

But she rejected suggestions the women had been ranked directly behind Muller to soften his conservative image.

"If I know one thing about Todd, he is into putting people where he needs them on merit. Todd and I have been friends for a number of years. He is a conservative. He and I voted differently on a range of issues, like abortion. But I respect Todd for his integrity, for his drive, for his absolute commitment to getting New Zealand through this. He is someone who I have huge belief in and I want to be part of his team."

One member of that team missing from Monday's party rankings was Bridges, who Muller said had asked for time to consider his future. That was quickly smacked down by Bridges.

"Just to be clear, after the reshuffle today, I am not considering my future," Bridges told Newshub. "Just having a small amount of time out to take stock after the loss on Friday.

"I am candidate for Tauranga and intend to stand and help National obtain an historic win!"

Questioned about Bridges' comments, Adams said every MP has the same goal and she believed the former leader was loyal to the party.

"I have got a strong belief that everyone in the National Party and everyone in our caucus has come into Parliament because we believe in the party, we believe in what it stands for, and we do believe that we are a team that is best positioned to take New Zealand through this," she said.

"Simon and everyone else in our caucus want to do that. We know that if we start squabbling with each other, we are not going to get anything done. I know Simon is an absolute believer in the party and I think he is going want to do what he can to help New Zealand recover and that, in our minds, means electing a National Government."

Adams announced her retirement last June. She was, at the time, the party's Finance spokesperson and was a key minister in the Key/English Government.

Due to her announcement, a new candidate, Nicola Grigg, was chosen to run for the Selwyn electorate at the September 19 election. Adams will now stand as a list MP at the election, instead.