Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has congratulated incoming Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who unseated Julia Gillard on Wednesday in a vote among ruling Labor Party lawmakers.
"The relationship with Australia is our closest and most important, and I look forward to working with Kevin Rudd in continuing our cooperation across the trade, economic, defense and security spheres," Key said in a statement Thursday.
"I enjoyed a close working relationship with Kevin Rudd in his past roles as prime minister and foreign minister and I look forward to that continuing."
Key said Gillard had been a good friend to New Zealand and he appreciated her commitment to the trans-Tasman relationship.
"The bonds between our two countries will remain strong and we will continue our important work on achieving a single economic market, as well as cooperating closely on the regional and international stage."