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National leader Simon Bridges has appointed Amy Adams as his finance spokeswoman and the third-ranked MP on his front bench.
Bridges announced the role ahead of his main reshuffle which is expected next week, saying it was to show that the economy remained National's top priority.
It will put Adams against Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Bridges said National intended to fight the Labour-NZ First-Green Government's plans for the economy, including any tax changes it agreed to from the Government's Tax Working Group.
Adams was considered Bridges' nearest rival in the leadership contest.
She will be the top-ranked MP after Bridges himself and deputy Paula Bennett.
"The National Party will fight these changes and Amy is the best person to lead that effort," Bridges said.
He said Adams was an experienced former minister who had handled portfolios from Social Housing to Justice and the Environment, as well as Associate Finance for the final year of the National Government.
"Amy follows in the footsteps of the National Party's hugely successful finance ministers, Bill English and Steven Joyce, and I have no doubt she'll do a great job on behalf of all New Zealanders."
Adams will be the first woman to hold the key portfolio since Ruth Richardson, who was Finance Minister from 1990-93. Richardson was also the local MP for Selwyn - the same electorate now held by Adams.
Both Labour and National have had men in the finance role since then.
Adams has already set out her first targets in the role, saying she would focus on Labour's plans to clamp down on overseas investors, employment law changes and proposed new taxes, saying they would "kneecap" economic performance.
"In select committee, National MPs are constantly hearing how the Overseas Investment Bill will chill foreign investment. That's bad for housing construction, bad for the regions and bad for our economy overall."
She said Labour was "ramping up" expectations. "I'll be keeping a close eye on their approach to spending taxpayers' money."
Her first priorities were getting out to meet business, employers and exporters in the weeks ahead. National would also present new economic and social policies before the next election.
"But first we have to stop the threat posed by Labour's economic mismanagement."