National MP Amy Adams is no longer retiring at the election because she has been asked by National leader Todd Muller to stay on and lead the COVID-19 response.
Adams, MP for Selwyn, announced in June 2019 that she would retire from politics at the 2020 general election to spend more time with her family, forgoing her spokesperson roles, including finance.
But Muller has asked Adams to stay on as National's number three, and if the Opposition wins the September election, she would become Minister for COVID-19 Recovery.
"I announced a year or so ago that I wanted to have a bit more time with my family and for my life and if the world had carried on as we knew it then, that was my intention," the 49-year-old said on Monday.
"But the last eight weeks have changed everything, and I've been watching the most remarkable suite of challenges face this country, and if I can be of any help at all in helping New Zealand through those challenges, that's something I feel duty-bound as a proud Kiwi to do."
Muller said Adams is "tough and tested" and said she will "play a key role in getting you, your family and your community through this".
Adams insisted her return has nothing to do with Simon Bridges no longer being leader.
"I've always been very loyal to Simon as the leader. I think Simon did a remarkable job at a tough period of time. This is genuinely about a very different world we're now living in."
She said she would have stayed on if Bridges had asked her.
"If he'd asked me to and he said, 'look, we want you as part of the team and I see a role for you', of course I would've been open to that."
Adams said he has been friends with Muller and new deputy leader Nikki Kaye for "a very long time", and said they "expressed a view that they thought there was a role that I could play and that I could help".
The former Justice Minister said, "If I can help and if I can be of any part of helping New Zealand tackle these challenges, then that's something I'm prepared to defer getting my life back for, for a bit longer."
Kaye said Adams has the experience to lead the COVID-19 recovery.
"If you look at Amy's background, I think she's better placed than pretty much any politician in my view, in the building, to ensure the public service delivers for people on the ground and I think she's going to be extraordinary in that role."
After Adams announced her retirement from politics, the National Party put up New Zealand Trade and Enterprise portfolio manager Nicola Grigg to contest Adams' Selwyn electorate at the 2020 election.
It looks as though that will still go ahead, with Adams to remain on National's list.
"As you can see, she's position number three, so I have every confidence that she will be a major part of our government," Muller said.
Adams said it's her intention to stay on in Parliament for "as long as I'm able to add value and help out on the challenges" posed by COVID-19.
Leading National's COVID-19 recovery mission, Adams said it will be structured into seven policy teams, focused "not around Wellington and public service and normal bureaucracy, but actually around the things we're going to need to get right to get the country moving".
But Adams' future as a list MP will depend on whether National gets enough of the party vote.
Newshub's latest poll had National on just 30.6 percent, meaning if an election was held on that day, National would get 39 seats, with at least 16 MPs losing their jobs.
While Adams sits at number three on National's list, former deputy leader Paula Bennett has been pushed down the ranks, while Simon Bridges is nowhere to be seen.
Muller said Bridges needed time to reflect on his future, and that there would be a place for him in his Cabinet should he decide to stay in politics.
Bridges told Newshub he is planning to stay on and contest Tauranga.