New National leader Todd Muller has revealed his new line-up for the 2020 election, with some detractors demoted, loyalists rewarded – and a somewhat surprising un-retirement
Senior National MP Amy Adams has reversed her retirement plans following Simon Bridges’ ousting from the leadership, agreeing to serve as the party’s Covid-19 spokeswoman under new leader Todd Muller.
Bridges’ future within National remains unclear, while his former deputy leader Paula Bennett has fallen 11 places in Muller’s newly reshuffled lineup.
Adams announced her retirement in June last year, saying at the time: “This is the decision about, ultimately, the life I want. And the fact remains, I want my life back.”
But with the Selwyn MP reportedly enjoying a close relationship with Muller, he has successfully talked her into staying on (most likely in the list-only place previously reserved for Bennett, although that has not yet been confirmed).
Announcing his new party rankings and portfolios, Muller said he was particularly pleased by Adams’ decision to stay on and serve as Minister for Covid-19 if National won power.
“Amy is tough and tested and will play a key role in getting you, your family and your community through this.”
Muller said he had offered Bridges a place in his shadow Cabinet if he decided to stay in politics, but the ex-leader had asked for more time to reflect on his future.
Bennett has fallen from second place on National’s list to 13th, and it is unclear whether or not she will retain her role as campaign chair, with reports Gerry Brownlee is in line to take on the role.
Brownlee keeps the foreign affairs portfolio, which the NZ Herald reported Bridges had asked for only to be rebuffed.
Bridges’ confidante Todd McClay has also dropped six places to 11th on the list, keeping his trade and tourism portfolios but losing economic development to Judith Collins, who remains unchanged in fourth place but also takes on regional development, Pike River re-entry and Shadow Attorney-General roles.
Alfred Ngaro, who on Friday described the leadership coup as “dishonourable and disrespectful to who we are”, has dropped nine spots to 20th.
One of the big winners is Nicola Willis. The Wellington Central-based list MP, who played a key role in Muller’s successful bid for the leadership, jumps 31 places to 14th spot and takes on housing and urban development.
Muller backer Chris Bishop gets a more modest promotion, up from 15th to 12th, but takes on the infrastructure portfolio from finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith, who retains that role and holds fifth spot despite backing Bridges.