Amy Adams (politician)

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Amy Adams
Amy Adams politician (cropped).jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Selwyn
In office
8 November 2008 – 17 October 2020
Preceded byElectorate re-established
Succeeded byNicola Grigg
48th Minister of Justice
In office
8 October 2014 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJohn Key
Bill English
Preceded byJudith Collins
Succeeded byAndrew Little
7th Minister for Courts
In office
6 October 2014 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJohn Key
Bill English
Preceded byChester Borrows
Succeeded byAndrew Little
26th Minister for Social Housing
In office
20 December 2016 – 26 October 2017
Prime MinisterBill English
Preceded byPaula Bennett
Succeeded byPhil Twyford
Personal details
Amy Juliet Milnes

(1971-05-19) 19 May 1971 (age 49)
Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyNational
Spouse(s)Don Adams
Alma materUniversity of Canterbury

Amy Juliet Adams (née Milnes; born 19 May 1971) is a former New Zealand politician of the New Zealand National Party. She was the Member of Parliament for Selwyn from 2008 to 2020, when she retired.

Adams' prior career was as a lawyer. She served as New Zealand's Minister for the Environment, Minister for Communications and Minister of Justice in the Fifth National Government.

Early life and family[edit]

Adams was born in 1971. When she was two, her mother divorced her father, raising her and her sister Belinda alone.[1] Adams attended Rangitoto College on the North Shore of Auckland, where she was friends with Louise Upston[2] (also later a National Party politician), then graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws with First-Class Honours. Her first employment as a lawyer was in Invercargill, but she soon moved back to Canterbury.[1] She became a partner in the Christchurch law firm Mortlock McCormack.[1]

Adams married Robert Donald "Don" Adams, with whom she has two children. The couple live in Aylesbury, close to the fault line and epicentre of the 2010 Canterbury earthquake.[3] They also own three farms in Darfield, Kirwee, and Te Kauwhata. The first two of these are sheep and crop farms in Canterbury, and within the area of the Central Plains Water scheme. Through their company Amdon Farms Ltd, the Adams family is a shareholder of Central Plains Water.[4] The Te Kauwhata farm is located in the Waikato.[4]

Adams' sister Belinda later worked in the office of Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and was appointedFamilies Commissioner in 2013.[5] Adams' brother-in-law, David Ware is a telecommunications executive and publicly criticised Adams' actions while she was Minister for Communications and Information Technology.[6]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2008–2011 49th Selwyn 52 National
2011–2014 50th Selwyn 28 National
2014–2017 51st Selwyn 15 National
2017–2020 52nd Selwyn 7 National

Fifth National Government, 2008–2017[edit]

Adams was selected as the National Party candidate for the Selwyn seat for the 2008 general election after a contested selection.[7] She won the seat with a comfortable majority, achieving 60% of the electorate votes cast. This compares with the National Party achieving 55% of party votes.[8] In the 2014 election, she won more than 70% of the electorate votes based on preliminary results.[9][10] In her first term, she was a member (subsequently deputy chairperson and chairperson) of the Finance and Expenditure Committee, and also chaired the Electoral Legislation Committee that considered legislation to replace the Electoral Finance Act 2007.[11]

In 2009 her Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill was drawn from the member's ballot.[12] The bill required fundraising companies to disclose the proportion of funds they passed on to the charities they collect for.[13] The bill passed and became the Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Act 2012.[14]

Adams was made Chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee and the Electoral Legislation Committee for the final months of the 49th Parliament. When the National Party won a second term in Government in 2011, she was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, and Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.[11] After a reshuffle of cabinet responsibilities caused by the resignation of Nick Smith, Adams was made Minister for the Environment. Chris Tremain succeeded her in the Internal Affairs portfolio.

After National won the 2014 general election in September, Adams became the Minister of Justice, Minister for Courts, Minister of Broadcasting and Minister for Communications.[11] Following Bill English's elevation to Prime Minister in 2016, Adams also took on the roles of Minister for Social Housing, Minister Responsible for Social Investment, Minister Responsible for Housing New Zealand and Associate Minister of Finance, in addition to retaining the justice and courts portfolios.[11]

Opposition, 2017–2020[edit]

Following the formation of a Labour-led coalition government after the 2017 general election, English resigned as Leader and Adams contested the subsequent leadership election.[15] Simon Bridges was elected, with Adams considered the next closest contestant.[16] She became National's finance spokesperson in Bridges' Shadow Cabinet, ranked third in the caucuse,[16] and served on the Finance and Expenditure and Privileges select committees.[17] On 22 January 2019, Adams was designated as the shadow Attorney General following the retirement of Christopher Finlayson.[18][19]

In June 2019, Adams announced that she would retire from politics at the 2020 general election, and that she would step down from her Shadow Cabinet roles immediately.[20] She was replaced as National's candidate in Selwyn by journalist Nicola Grigg. While a backbencher, Adams was appointed deputy chair of the committee that considered the Abortion Legislation Bill.[11]

After Todd Muller replaced Bridges as National Party leader in a leadership challenge in May 2020, Adams rescinded her retirement and was given the party's Covid-19 Recovery portfolio and a ranking of 3 in Muller's Shadow Cabinet.[21] On 2 July 2020, Adams assumed the drug reform portfolio from former National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett, who announced that she would be retiring at the upcoming election.[22][23] As Grigg had already replaced Adams as Selwyn candidate, Adams was to have stood as a list-only candidate in the election but, after Muller was replaced in the leadership by Judith Collins in July, Adams reconfirmed her decision to leave politics.[24] She delivered her valedictory statement on 30 July 2020.[25]

Political views[edit]

Amy Adams describes herself as "socially liberal, economically conservative."[26] She considers herself a feminist and supported the Abortion Legislation Act 2020. She has defended abortion on the grounds of women's reproductive rights and urged religious opponents of abortion reform to stop teaching that contraception is a sin.[27][28] Adams has also voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage and legalising assisted dying for people with terminal illnesses.

As Minister of Justice, she wiped the convictions of men convicted of homosexual acts prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1986, and apologised on behalf of the Government.[29]


  1. ^ a b c Wright, Michael (11 October 2014). "Amy Adams on movies, mothering and money". The Press. p. A18.
  2. ^ Vance, Andrea (22 July 2012). "Amy not afraid to speak her mind". Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ "General Debate - 8th September, 2010 - Part 5 - YouTube". Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b Strongman, Susan (18 March 2014). "Columnist stands by Amy Adams claims". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  5. ^ Davison, Isaac (20 July 2013). "It's jobs for the mates – Labour slams Nats". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  6. ^ Vance, Andrea (11 December 2012). "Brother-in-law slams minister's frequency plans". Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  7. ^ Wilson, Peter (12 May 2008). "National selects Amy Adams for Selwyn Seat". National Business Review. NZPA. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  8. ^ "Selwyn: Electoral Profile". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Election Results – Selwyn". Electoral Commission. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  10. ^ Mathewson, Nicole; Stylianou, Georgina; Fulton, Tim (21 September 2014). "Election 2014: Canterbury decides". The Press. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Adams, Amy". Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill – First reading". New Zealand Parliament. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Bill forces donation disclosure". 9 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Act 2012". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  15. ^ Chang, Derek (14 February 2018). "Amy Adams announces bid for National leadership". The New Zealand Herald.
  16. ^ a b "Amy Adams replaces Joyce in National's finance role". Otago Daily Times. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Hon Amy Adams". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Bennett named drug reform spokesperson in shadow cabinet reshuffle". Radio New Zealand. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  19. ^ Coughlan, Thomas (22 January 2019). "Bridges begins year with a reshuffle". Newsroom. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  20. ^ "National's Amy Adams retiring from politics at 2020 election". New Zealand Herald. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  21. ^ "National leader Todd Muller reshuffles caucus: Adams rises, Tolley falls in new lineup". Radio New Zealand. 25 May 2020. Archived from the original on 25 May 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  22. ^ Cooke, Henry (2 July 2020). "National reshuffle: Simon Bridges gets foreign affairs role, but not a high ranking". Stuff. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  23. ^ Cheng, Derek (2 July 2020). "National's Todd Muller's first reshuffle – winners and losers revealed". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Live updates: Nikki Kaye quitting politics, Amy Adams follows". Radio New Zealand. 16 July 2020. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020.
  25. ^ "Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Nathan Guy urge Kiwis to remember the good of politics as they bow out". Stuff. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  26. ^ Kirk, Stacey; Cooke, Henry; Walters, Laura (14 February 2018). "Simon Bridges, Judith Collins and Amy Adams mount National Party leadership bids". Stuff. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ Adams, Amy (19 March 2020). "'I trust women. I trust women': National MP Amy Adams speaks on abortion". The Spinoff. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  28. ^ Small, Zane (19 March 2020). "'Go Amy!' National MP praised for abortion speech calling out intolerance from religious groups". Newshub. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Watch: The moment Amy Adams apologises on behalf of Government for convicting gay men for homosexual acts prior to 1986". TVNZ. Retrieved 14 November 2020.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
In abeyance
Title last held by
David Carter
Member of Parliament for Selwyn
Succeeded by
Nicola Grigg
Political offices
Preceded by
Nathan Guy
Minister for Internal Affairs
Succeeded by
Chris Tremain
Preceded by
Steven Joyce
Minister for Communications and Information Technology
Succeeded by
Clare Curran
Preceded by
Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
Nick Smith
Preceded by
Chester Borrows
Minister for Courts
Succeeded by
Andrew Little
Preceded by
Judith Collins
Minister of Justice