'I want my life back': Amy Adams retiring from politics

Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 12:05PM
Amy Adams will retire before the 2020 election. (Photo / Getty)

Amy Adams will retire from politics at the 2020 election, she announced today.

It is a surprise announcement, as Adams ran for the party leadership in February last year following Bill English's resignation.

She came second in that contest, and then became the finance spokeswoman under Simon Bridges' leadership.

Meanwhile Adams' National colleague Alastair Scott also announced today that he would step down and not contest the 2020 election.

Adams, MP for Selwyn, said the announcement may have come as a "bolt from the blue" for others, but she had been thinking about it for some time.


She said her decision was a difficult one, but it was about spending more time with family.

She said when she came into politics, she promised that she would never cause a byelection, and that she would step aside if she felt she was 100 per cent into it.

"The fact remains, I want my life back ... I want to spend more time with my family."

She said she became emotional talking to caucus this morning. "Putting it out there is a big call."

She fought off tears as she spoke of the staff that she had worked with and the Selwyn electorate that she represents.

She didn't believe in "a life in politics", and she didn't want to risk becoming bitter and half-hearted by sticking around.

The next MP in Selwyn would have to walk the rural-urban divide, she said.

She said she was proud of national environment standards, the rollout of broadband, and expunging homosexual convictions from her time in various ministerial roles.

She had wanted to do more in tackling family and sexual violence and was glad the Government had continued that work.

She said her hardest day in Parliament was early on, when her daughter was at boarding school and called her up in tears, and Adams was "a million miles from her".

Her family had backed her life in politics, but were ecstatic at the news of her retirement.

The 48-year-old said the decision had nothing to do with losing the leadership contest to Bridges last year, and she thought the party could win the 2020 election.

She said she felt she could be the Finance Minister if National won in 2020, and it would be "an amazing privilege", but she didn't have energy to stay and find out.

She said she made the decision a couple of months ago and had told Bridges some time ago.

She made the announcement today and wanted to give the next finance spokesperson for National enough time to get into the role before the 2020 election.

She said the news was broken to caucus this morning, and the reaction was "surprise".

She said it was a "hard job", though it had been a privilege, but 12 years was a good length of service and it was time for her to go.

"I have been incredibly privileged to serve as the MP for Selwyn and a member of the National Party caucus for almost 12 years.

She had no idea what she would do next, and that was "exciting". Firstly she would spent time reconnecting with family.

She said she became emotional talking to caucus this morning. "Putting it out there is a big call."

Adams said that despite giving up her shadow portfolios, she would continue to work hard for her Selwyn constituents in the time she had left in Parliament.

Adams was also Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, and has previously spoken about the how the 2010 earthquake shook her home with such force that it threw a fish tank across her daughter's bedroom, shattering on the bed inches from her head.

National's spokesman for economic development Paul Goldsmith would be a front-runner to take over National's finance role.

Adams was considered a strong minister under the leadership of English and John Key, holding a variety of portfolios at various times including justice, communications, broadcasting, courts, internal affairs and the environment.

Adams is a former lawyer and mother of two. She lives on a farm in Aylesbury, Canterbury.

She was raised by her mother Lyn after her father left when she was 2.

When Adams was 11 she shifted to live with her father in Auckland for a few years, attending Rangitoto College before going to Canterbury University.

She voted for Act when Don Brash was leader of National in 2005, campaigning on one law for all and hardline welfare reforms.

Three years later Adams quit her post as a partner in commercial law and entered Parliament as a National Party MP.

She lost her mother to melanoma and supports euthanasia - with the right controls.

Scott, who also announced his resignation today, said:

"I have every confidence that National will claim victory at the next election," he said.

Scott was the MP for Wairarapa for six years.


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