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Senior National MP Amy Adams has ditched her retirement plans and is the big winner as Todd Muller outlined the new National caucus today.
She has been given the shadow portfolio of Covid-19 recovery – which is expected to be a centrepiece of National's election campaign.
Former party leader Simon Bridges has confirmed that he will stay on and stand in the 2020 election.
"Just to be clear after the reshuffle today, I am not considering my future. Just having a small amount of time out to take stock after the loss on Friday. I am candidate for Tauranga and intend to stand and help National obtain an historic win!"
It came after Muller said Bridges was taking time to consider his political future, but would be assured of a Cabinet position if he decided to stay on and National was in Government.
Muller said he and Bridges have had "very good conversations" and a "robust debate".
However Bridges' former deputy Paula Bennett has been shuffled down the shadow Cabinet rankings. She keeps the drug reform and women portfolio but loses social investment and social services.
Asked if Bennett would stay on as an MP, Muller said "absolutely".
Muller said this afternoon that Bridges was still deciding his next step.
"Should he wish to continue serving as an MP, he would be in shadow Cabinet."
The party's list rankings for the election will not be unveiled today but Adams would be ranked number three, Muller said.
The new National leader told reporters his focus was New Zealand's economic recovery.
This was the toughest economic period in living memory for many and he said Labour was not right for the Covid-19 response.
Muller said his caucus was "bursting with talent".
He said Adams' job is to lead National's Covid-19 recovery politics.
"Our team will ensure that your economy, and your life, is at the heart of our decisions."
He said National will save jobs by leveraging the country's "great strength".
Muller said everyone in New Zealand has received a huge shock, as a result of Covid-19.
He said he had been reflecting with Adams for a number of weeks, as to National's Covid plans.
It would be "too great a loss" for New Zealand when Adams had so much to offer.
Muller's "total focus" was on who was the best team and who could help drive plans for an economic plan for New Zealand.
"We have 14 weeks to go," he said on the election.
Adams said her decision to stay was not to do with Simon Bridges' leadership.
She said she has been watching as New Zealand faced a number of challenges and wanted to help.
"It's my intention to be here as long as I can add value," Adams said.
Muller also confirmed that Gerry Brownlee would chair National's election campaign, replacing Paula Bennett.
National's new line-up
Muller this afternoon announced his shadow Cabinet – a list of which MPs were looking after which portfolios.
The big news is the return of Adams – who said mid-last year she was stepping down at this election to spend more time with her family.
"Amy is tough and tested and will play a key role in getting you, your family and your community through this," Muller said.
Adams is a former minister and before announcing she was stepping down she was National's finance spokeswoman.
Muller gives up the agriculture portfolio for small business and national security roles – a shadow portfolio traditionally held by the leader.
His deputy, Nikki Kaye remains National's education and sports spokeswoman.
Michael Woodhouse retains health, Mark Mitchell keeps justice and defence and Todd McClay keeps trade.
Perhaps the biggest change within National's front bench is around Judith Collins.
She picks up economic development, regional development and Pike River re-entry.
The Papakura MP, and former lawyer, has also been made the Shadow Attorney-General – she takes over from Tim Macindoe.
Muller supporter Nicola Willis wins big from the reshuffle. The list MP who came into Parliament in 2017 has been given the Housing and Urban Development shadow portfolio.
She has gone from unranked to number 14 and in the shadow Cabinet - a significant jump.
Muller said Willis was talented and deserved her rise, while Kaye said she was "extraordinarily talented".
Hutt South MP Chris Bishop keeps transport and picks up infrastructure – formally held by Paul Goldsmith.
Goldsmith, remains in the front bench and will continue in his role as finance spokesman and has been given Earthquake Commission.
He has, however, been moved down the rankings.
Muller on Trump hat controversy
Asked what he learned from the MAGA (Make America Great Again) Trump hat saga in his collection, Muller said he had a "number of political" memorabilia.
He said that was all it was and does not represent his political views.
"My focus is not caps," he said, noting he had never worn the cap.
But his accepted the fact that it could be controversial to many.
Muller said he would only be wearing National Party hats in the future.
Full National list
1. Todd Muller
2. Nikki Kaye
3. Amy Adams
4. Judith Collins
5. Paul Goldsmith
6. Gerry Brownlee
7. Michael Woodhouse
8. Louise Upston
9. Mark Mitchell
10. Scott Simpson
11. Todd McClay
12. Chris Bishop
13. Paula Bennett
14. Nicola Willis
15. Jacqui Dean
16. David Bennett
17. Shane Reti
18. Melissa Lee
19. Andrew Bayly
20. Alfred Ngaro
21. Barbara Kuriger
22. Jonathan Young
23. Tim Macindoe
24. Nick Smith
25. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
26. Matt Doocey
27. Jian Yang
28. Stuart Smith
29. Simon O'Connor
30. Lawrence Yule
31. Denise Lee
32. Anne Tolley
33. Parmjeet Parmar
34. Brett Hudson
35. Simeon Brown
36. Ian McKelvie
37. Jo Hayes
38. Andrew Falloon
39. Harete Hipango
40. Matt King
41. Chris Penk
42. Hamish Walker
43. Erica Stanford
44. Tim Van de Molen
45. Maureen Pugh
46. Dan Bidois
47. Agnes Loheni
48. Paulo Garcia