Exiting National MP Amy Adams has revealed she would have stayed on if she could have kept her COVID-19 recovery role - but new leader Judith Collins killed it off.
Adams had resigned last year under Simon Bridges' leadership and then un-resigned to join the former leadership team of Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye. Now, she's un-un-resigned under Collins.
Adams accepts that people are going to say she could work with Muller and Kaye but couldn't work with Bridges or Collins - but she rejects it.
"I know they're going to say that but I would completely reject that," she told Newshub.
The Selwyn MP says she would have stayed if she could have kept her role as COVID-19 recovery spokesperson, a role given to her by Muller - but Collins killed it off in her reshuffle on Thursday.
"There wasn't the same impetus for it under this leadership style," Adams said.
But she doesn't feel pushed out by the new leadership team.
"No, not at all."
Adams announced her resignation on Thursday along with Kaye. They entered Parliament together in 2008 and are good mates. They were the leadership sidekicks in Muller's short reign.
Adams rejects the suggestion she's leaving a sinking ship.
"No, not at all," she told Newshub. "As you know, I made the decision that it was really the end of my political career mid-last year."
Kaye had a similar response.
"No, I'm not."
Adams and Kaye are two senior National MPs walking away less than 48 hours after Collins took over as leader on Tuesday night.
But the new National Party leader doesn't think the departure of Adams and Kaye show they cannot work under her leadership.
"No, in fact they were both adamant that they could," she said on Thursday.
Until Muller's shock resignation and Collins' takeover, Kaye was in it for the long-haul, auditioning to be Deputy Prime Minister.
"I was prepared to step up but obviously there have been a range of things which occurred and from my perspective that's shifted the balance of the right thing to do which is, in my view, to leave Parliament," Kaye told Newshub.
It comes after a whirlwind week for National.
On Wednesday, National MP Michael Woodhouse was axed from the health portfolio over leaks he'd received from ex-National Party president Michelle Boag about COVID-19 patient details.
Here's what went down:
Kaye now admits Woodhouse's press statement should have gone out sooner.
"I think in hindsight it should have."
Newshub has been told the leadership gagged Woodhouse from putting it out sooner, because they didn't want to overshadow last Thursday's road announcement - which was overshadowed anyway.
Kaye insists she did not prevent its release.
"I did not at all. I did not at all," she told Newshub.
Adams says she did not urge Woodhouse not to come clean. She says she told him to inform the person appointed by the Government to investigate the leaked information, Michael Heron QC.
"No, and in fact, as I say, our discussion was that he needed to put it in front of Michael Heron, which he was very happy to do and that it would need to be made public," Adams said.
Kaye is not sure if Muller put the brakes on releasing the press statement.
"You'd have to ask Todd that question."
National says he definitely did not.
On Thursday, after demoting himself from leadership earlier in the week, Muller was promoted onto Collins' front bench and takes up the trade role.
Collins says she didn't seek an assurance from Muller that he didn't prevent Woodhouse from coming clean sooner.
"No, I didn't need to do that," Collins said. "It's not necessary. It will be dealt with in the inquiry. There is a ministerial inquiry. I'm not going to go down that path."
Collins said she is "very, very confident" in Muller's integrity.
It's been a good day for the contestants in National's leadership-idol.
It's not the actual job he wanted - Collins has that - but Bridges has also been promoted. He gets justice alongside his foreign affairs portfolio.
Bridges is optimistic about Collins as the new leader.
"I think what we've got with Judith as our leader is a clear path to victory here."