Selwyn MP Amy Adams was touted as one of the most competent Ministers in the last National Government – but does she have what it takes to lead her party into the 2020 election? Interest.co.nz questions the former Minister on her plans for National

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… but feel free to tinker with it a bit.

That, in a nutshell, seems to be the approach Selwyn MP and former Housing New Zealand Minister Amy Adams is taking to her National leadership campaign.

“I think, fundamentally, what we’ve been doing has been good,” she says when talking about her party’s almost decade-long stretch in power.

“But this is a very different Opposition to any we have seen before – we were rejected at the election and our first objective is to make sure we stay true to the 44.5% of people who voted for us.”

It is clear Adams wants to remain loyal to National’s base – the almost 45% of Kiwis that made the party the largest Opposition in New Zealand’s history.

But the focus of an Adams-led National Opposition will be seeing that number head closer to the 50s.

“I’m looking to improve how we connect with New Zealand voters. They will see some changes in positions, they will see some changes in policies and how we talk about them.”

But, much like her leadership rival Simon Bridges, she won’t say what changes she plans to make.

Any changes she does make, however, won’t be very dramatic, she hints.

“It’s not going to be a ground up, overturning of what we have done because I have been very proud of what we have done over the last nine years.”

She intends to spend the coming weeks locked in conversation with her Caucus colleagues about the “things we need to change”.

But what about her front bench – will there be much of a reshuffle if she is to ascend to the top job?

“Any leader has to be in a position and have the ability to make whatever decisions around positions and rankings and portfolios they need to make to win in 2020,” she says, after refusing to go into any detail around personnel changes.

“I have been very careful. I have kept all my options open and the commitment I will make to my colleagues is that I will make the decisions that put us in the best position to win in 2020 – that is the ultimate objective for all of us,” she continues.

Champion of urban and rural New Zealand

When announcing her run at the leadership last week, Adams talked in length about her ability to relate to both urban and rural New Zealand.

This was seemingly in response to Bridges’ line that he was standing on a platform of “generational change and experience.”

But Adams says it’s not a case of either or when it comes to her urban/rural focus verses Bridges’ approach.

In fact, she suggests she has everything he has.

“Simon and I came into Parliament on the same day [in 2008]”, she says before adding that was the same day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first entered Parliament.

What’s more, she says, is both her and Bridges are in their 40s (he 41, she 47) – “it’s not a significant difference of experience and youthfulness in combination.”

But when it comes to social media, she is lagging behind her other rival Judith Collins.

When announcing his resignation from Parliament and politics last Tuesday, outgoing National leader Bill English made special mention of how important social media is to reaching everyday Kiwis.

Adams agrees, adding this is especially the case when it comes to younger voters.

“Our ability to talk directly to the public – not just about our policies, but also so they can get to know us as people is important.”

Although in terms of Twitter and Facebook followers she beats Bridges, she has not yet got to Collins’ level of social media savviness.*

Adams acknowledges the importance of properly utilising social media, suggesting she is already looking to up her game in this area.

“That’s something we’re focusing on as part of finding the leader, obviously it has to be a big part of my messaging and letting people get to know me.”

*Adams has almost double the number of Facebook followers of either Bridges or Collins – but, as an insider once revealed, it’s likely many of those “likes” come from people confusing her with the Oscar-nominated actress who shares the name.

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19 Comments

ABBA ! ... anyone but bloody Adams ...

... surely , the Gnats have to give the job to the Crusher ( ABC !!! ) ... 'cos unless they do , she will sit on the sidelines sniping away at the new leader , destabilizing them , in the exact same way Daivd Cunliffe undermined David Shearer when Labour were in opposition , and in disarray ...

Anyone but Crusher ? ... no ... best allow her the chance to rip root and snort ... to tear up the joint ... she's gotta get it out of her system ...

... after that ... get a more suitable candidate ... and shuffle the Crusher off to somewhere more suiting her talents .... WWE or UFC spring to mind ...

I think you are right Gummy. I really rate Amy Adams, but this article above shows she is stuck in the same paralysis the Nats overall were in. They couldn't see the problem, and were scared to do anything effective. eg. Housing costs, eg Education / Immigration Rorts. eg. the bleakness of holding NZ to a low incomes strategy. eg. Tax avoidance by our biggest corporations.
So give it to Judith Collins who will be a real opposition leader. (Judith knows it, but the Nats mostly have not yet realised they are in opposition) Judith will rise or fall - we will see. When it comes time when a Nat might be PM again, they can decide between Amy and Judith.
(and lets just ignore that Simon fella - simply irritating).

Hate to say it but Colin’s eats Amy’s for snacks
I know Amy’s assistant has more sense than Amy who doesn’t like to work too hard I’m informed.
Maybe Crusher Colin’s could be put through an ethics course where she could learn new things
Obviously Crusher missed ethics while studying law but she can be reformed with the right coach.
Maybe would be best if she divorced to prove she was genuine in reforming herself perhaps

So why did Bill leave then ?

Judith I. Delivery needs to be the National leader for the next 18 months and then someone else will step up.

You don’t need to be that good to be able to take The coalition on as they will not be able to execute their many promises.

They have no one that has business acumen amongst them and that is why they need advice from outside parties.

Judith I believe needs to be the National leader for the next 18 months and then someone else will step up.

You don’t need to be that good to be able to take The coalition on as they will not be able to execute their many promises.

They have no one that has business acumen amongst them and that is why they need advice from outside parties.

I've just read a Stephen King novel, but these proposals will be way more disturbing,

...in another 3 years we will have had three more years of old home owners dying & falling off the electoral role and three more years of young frustrated non homeowners enrolling. It will take National years to rid itself of the non existant housing crisis, gridlocked roads and shitty rivers tag they have given themselves...

All any Leader of the opposition has to do is repetitively ask Jacinda Ardern if she has confidence in her MP's......All those promises Jacinda has made, all those issues she was going to resolve have not and will not go away, so whoever is the leader of the opposition can ask then ask Jacinda why she has confidence in those MP's when the have not been able to do the job.

I think JC is one of the few who will keep JA on her toes......BUT will JC take one for the National team as I don't think that the NZ population will consider her as PM material.......

Massive leadership vacuum on their hands. It's growing more obvious by the day. National need new blood in Parliament.

The Nats think they can rule alone...? Are they serious...? Now that's fourth term arrogance when you are not really having a fourth term.!!!

National-National sat on a wall, National-National had a great fall, all the ......... ......

........................couldn't put National together again!

Now Joyce is thrown his hat in, that makes about 10% of the National caucus running for the top job. Big call on the old optics. The fighting we will all be over and done with by next week Tuesday, eh?

I think (and hope) they have lost the plot. Simple, some years ago they picked JK as he was the front man to make the rest of the "team" look moderate, centralist, safe and hence electable. Whomever got that right by picking JK needs to do the repeat act, but with so much ambition out there to be the "leader", unlikely.

I reckon Joyce's decision to stand is vote splitting.

My dream team is Collins as deputy to rip Taxinda to shreds, Joyce as opposition finance to rip Robertson to shreds and Bridges to be nice guy except when taunting Winne the poison dwarf.

I reckon that'd be my dream team as well, but for entirely different reasons, consigned to the dustbin of history team, relegation fodder. It'd be hilarious.

I hope your dream comes true because the more extreme right wing National becomes the more un-electable it becomes.

I think Nick Smith should Lead the National House of cards Party.

Throw his hand in to the pot. They all are...why not him.?

So it is not a stacked deck. Not just a level playing Field. Not a State House, but a Taxpayer funded longevity fund-a-mental position, for building on, with an eye to the future, a seat at the big table, so he and they can put his best foot forwards, his feet up, or under as the inclination takes him..

Nick must surely have a mind to the future, an eye on the big House....Statesman like, ...I call it.

Nick for Kink Maker..(Freudian slip..that should have been King Maker...).Who better to one day live in the House of Lords...a night in shining armour, sword at the ready....Charge...go for it mate.

Never mind the small fry...we need a real man of the people....