COMMENT:

Are rats departing a sinking ship?

I ask because Amy Adams is a big loss for National. She is first and foremost, a woman (moment of reverential silence please) but more than that, she is capable, experienced, well-respected and smart.

She's announced she's leaving the National Party and politics in general - which is a wild turnaround from her tilt at the leadership last year.

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She says it's to spend more time with her family, and I don't doubt that's a driver, but her family is grown up these days, with her kids aged 19 and 21. Although in my experience, ironically they often need you more the older they get - and 12 years is a lot of time to miss out on them when you're immersed in politics.

So could it also be that she's seen the writing on the wall? She's perhaps worked out that National's not likely to get back in 2020, and the wait to be in government is therefore a long one.

And the new player in the mix, recently anointed golden boy Christopher Luxon, will be taking up any aspirational airspace she may have wanted to inhabit.

Adams is a serious player and one who'll be missed not just because of her smarts, but also because of her great disposition. Politics is a brutally tough and rugged environment, and she managed to navigate her way through it with some sense of decorum.

In what often feels like a sandpit of squabbling children, she managed to look like a grown up. She seemed to have the right temperament for it. Managed to rise above the fray, while still looking strong. To my recollection she's never yelled, "Zip it sweetie" from the House, for example.

She's also widely respected and liked. I've only met her once and briefly. It was about seven years ago, in her capacity as local MP for Selwyn, at the opening of my sister and brother in law's new business.

She was affable and patient with people, but most impressive was her off the cuff speech she made about supporting local business and community. Many an MP will give a pithy pre-rehearsed soundbite to waiting broadcast media, but not many are naturally good speakers off the cuff in front of a live crowd. Certainly not without notes anyway.

I didn't know her from a bar of soap but I remember saying to my sister at the time that she was impressive.

So though it's good for her that's she's made the big call to go and get a life back it's sad news for the National Party. Because what they desperately need is experience, capability, and ideally these days: women.

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And another one just bit the dust.