A look back at National MP Amy Adams' time in Parliament

After 12 years in politics, senior National MP Amy Adams has announced her decision to retire after the 2020 election - but not for the first time. 

Adams said in June last year she planned to step down from politics after the 2020 election to spend more time with her family. 

But when Todd Muller took over from Simon Bridges as National Party leader in May she rescinded her retirement. 

After Muller's shock departure on Tuesday and Judith Collins' quick move into the leadership role, Adams has now confirmed she is ending her political career to lead a different life.

Newshub looks back at her time in Parliament. 

The early days

Raised by a solo mum "in a reasonably poor household", Adams attended Rangitoto College in Auckland's North Shore before moving to Christchurch to study law.

She graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1992 with first-class honours and began working in commercial and property law in Invercargill and then Canterbury.

Prior to her foray into politics, Adams was a partner with Mortlock McCormack Law in Christchurch but said she didn't see it as her future.

"I always like to know what I'm working towards. I guess I'm goal-oriented... Making partner was a goal for a long time. Then I looked around and I couldn't quite see myself doing the same thing 30 years on," she told Stuff.

Adams began her career in politics running for the rural Canterbury electorate of Selwyn in 2008 after winning more than 60 percent of the vote.

With two children aged eight and 10 to husband Don, she entered Parliament under the John Key Government.  

In her first parliamentary term, Adams served as Chairperson of both the Finance and Expenditure and Electoral Legislation select committees. She was also a member of the Justice and Electoral and Regulations Review Committees.

But Adams said those initial years were hard, spending time away from her family.

She said her most difficult day as an MP was when her daughter called her from boarding school, upset that she wasn't getting along with her friends.

"She rang me up late at night, bawling, she was at boarding school, wasn't getting on with her friends, and I felt a million miles from her - it's tough."

Re-elections of 2011 and 2014

Following her re-election in 2011, Adams joined Cabinet as the Minister of Internal Affairs, Communications and Information Technology and Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery. 

In 2012 she took over from Nick Smith as the Minister for the Environment and introduced the Environmental Reporting Bill - said to be one of her biggest achievements.

In September 2014, Adams regained the seat of Selwyn, receiving the largest majority in the country and she joined National's front bench. 

Following the portfolio reshuffle in December 2016, Adams retained the Justice and Courts portfolios and was also made Minister of Social Housing, Minister Responsible for Social Investment, Associate Finance Minister and Minister Responsible for Housing New Zealand.

Adams said she was "amazingly proud" of the work she did as Justice Minister when she read the former Government's apology for historic homosexual convictions in Parliament.

"Today we're putting on the record that this House deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong and for that we are sorry," she said. "It is never too late to apologise." 

The Opposition

In 2017 Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand's Prime Minister pushing out of the National Government and putting then-leader Bill English's position on the rocks.

In February 2018 English announced his decision to step down as leader of the Opposition to spend more time with his family. 

Adams subsequently put in a bid for the leadership alongside other contenders Steven Joyce, Mark Mitchell, Judith Collins and Simon Bridges.

Describing herself as a candidate, Adams said: "The compassion, integrity and life experience... makes me somewhat unique".

She said she is socially liberal but fiscally "right in core National territory."

Collins told The AM Show at the time she believed she had "strong" support for the leadership role. 

"I was approached by several colleagues to stand over Christmas break."

Newshub's political reporting team at the time ranked the contenders and likened Adams to former British PM Theresa May - "capable but a bit boring".

"Adams was a very competent minister. Often handed portfolios others had destroyed, she was tasked with fixing them up," they wrote.

"Adams has been shielded from the public - a backroom workhorse who now needs to step up, show some personality and prove she's not just a pointy-headed nerd, but someone who is relatable to everyday Kiwis."

But her effort wasn't enough with Simon Bridges becoming the new leader of the National Party.

Adam's first retirement

In January 2019 Adams became the Shadow Attorney-General but just a few months later she announced she would be retiring from politics after the 2020 election to spend more time with her family.

"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 said at the time.

"Making the decision to step away from politics has not been an easy one but it is the right time for me and my family and I'm looking forward to whatever the future holds."

But in 2020, with the global COVID-19 pandemic changing the future of politics, Adam's ally Todd Muller made the decision to challenge Bridges for the leadership.

After a caucus vote in May, Bay of Plenty MP Muller took the helm.

Adams then rescinded her retirement and was given the COVID-19 Recovery portfolio by Muller. He ranked her highly at number three on the National Party's list. 

"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," she said in May. 

"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."

Second retirement from politics

On Tuesday morning, Muller made the shock announcement he would be stepping down as leader due to health issues.

That night Judith Collins was confirmed as the new leader with Gerry Brownlee as her deputy to take on Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the September election.

On Thursday, Adams re-announced her intention to retire.

"With Todd Muller's decision to resign the leadership the most important issue for our party was to get a strong and effective leadership team in place without delay and I am proud at the way in which the caucus managed this," Adams said.

"I am in no doubt that in Judith Collins we have the right leader for the challenges ahead and Judith and the team have my full support.

"My time as an MP for the National Party and as the MP for Selwyn has been an honour and a privilege and I remain humbled and grateful at the opportunity I've had to serve this country."

She said the decision was "purely about what is right for me and the life I want to lead going forward".

Adams is one of many senior National MPs resigning at the election, most notably former Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and former deputy leader Nikki Kaye.

Fellow National MPs Anne Tolley, Nicky Wagner, Nathan Guy, Alastair Scott, Jiang Yang, Hamish Walker, and Sarah Dowie have all announced their resignations.