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National's Amy Adams insists she's sticking with politics over Covid-19 crisis, not because Simon Bridges is out

Reversing her decision to leave politics, Amy Adams says she wanted to use her previous experience working on disasters to help New Zealand recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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After Simon Bridges wrestled control of the party, she announced plans to leave politics at the end of her term. With Todd Muller in charge, that is no longer the case. Source: Breakfast

However, sceptical Breakfast host John Campbell this morning said his "BS detector" was high when questioning the National MP repeatedly over her timing, given the party's change in leadership.

Yesterday, it was announced the National MP had reversed her decision to leave Parliament. The news came after Simon Bridges was rolled by Todd Muller as the party's leader last week. 

"The world has changed and I know you're a bit cynical, John," Ms Adams said, wrestling with Campbell over whether Mr Bridges' ouster played into her sticking with politics.

"It's certainly true that we have a leader that I absolutely respect and I see a role for myself to contribute. The big thing for me is always I want to get up and go to work in the morning knowing that what I'm doing has a value and I can contribute."

Third on National's list behind its new leader and deputy Nikki Kaye, a new role has been designed for Ms Adams where she'll be focused on New Zealand's Covid-19 recovery. She will have "an overarching view" of the response and be coordinating the work alongside National's other ministers in their own fields.

"After the Canterbury earthquakes we did the same thing. There needs to be a person who has an overview right across all the component parts," she said, suggesting that such an approach isn't being seen from the current Government.

"I don't want my name in the paper, I just want to know that I'm part of helping National and New Zealand get through all of this and Todd came to me and said, 'Look, we'd really like you to stay.' And with the way the world had changed I thought, 'Actually, Amy, that comes first, do that and put the retirement off for a bit.'"

When Ms Adams announced in June that she would retire at the upcoming election she put it down to being burnt out.

Today, she reiterated that that was still the truth and not because of National's then leadership.

"When I said I was going, I made the point that I was tired and I wanted my life back, and I was. You know, back then I was pretty burnt out - I'd been a senior minister for six years in the [PM John] Key Government. I'd been running the finance portfolio and I was pretty burnt out. I've had a chance to rest a bit over the last year and get my energy back."

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Today’s coup came after disastrous results for the party. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Muller was number 16 on National's list under Mr Bridges, but at the time he had been in talks with Ms Adams, convincing her to stay.

Campbell said the two wouldn't have had those talks unless Mr Muller knew or had hoped he would be at number one in the party.

"I certainly didn't see it that way," Ms Adams responded. "What I saw it was was a colleague saying to me - and, look, I don't want to talk about me but other colleagues have reached out - and said, 'Gosh, it would be great if you could stay,' as well. 

"Todd wasn't offering me a job - he didn't have the ability to do that. He was just saying, 'In this Covid world you've got some skills that could really be of use to our team and it would really be great if there was a way for you to stay.'"

When asked if Mr Bridges had the same conversations with her, though, when he was in charges, Ms Adams said he didn't.

"No, when I told Simon I wanted to step down he was very gracious but we didn't then after that talk about me staying," she said.

Campbell then asked if she respected her former leader.

"What I saw when Simon was leader was an incredibly hardworking leader who gave everything to party and to the leadership and I had huge respect for Simon. While he was the leader, he had my full and absolute loyalty."

To which Campbell responded, "my BS detector just exploded".

After the interview, Campbell also said "we've got to accept her at her word". But, he added, he doesn't "think she felt she could work under Simon Bridges".

"It's no coincidence there's a new leader and she's back."

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The Bay of Plenty MP rolled Simon Bridges and brings in Nikki Kaye as his deputy. Source: 1 NEWS