27 Jun 2013

PM congratulates Rudd on regaining leadership

9:13 pm on 27 June 2013

New Zealand's Prime Minister has congratulated Kevin Rudd on regaining the leadership of the Australian Labor Party and acknowledged deposed leader Julia Gillard.

John Key said he would be passing on his congratulations to Mr Rudd as soon as he can.

Mr Key said Julia Gillard has been a good friend to New Zealand, and he always looked forward to their discussions and appreciated her hospitality during his visits to Australia.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Thursday that Ms Gillard cared deeply about the relationship with New Zealand and they worked effectively and seamlessly together on issues including Afghanistan and the Pacific.

Mr Rudd was Prime Minister of Australia from the general election in 2007 until 2010 when he was deposed by Ms Gillard.

Labour Party leader David Shearer said Mr Rudd has shown once again what a formidable figure he is in Australian politics.

Mr Shearer said Mr Rudd would face an election within a matter of months and his party wishes him every success in the campaign.

Mr Shearer said the change of leadership will undoubtedly push the ALP up in the polls and help it keep more seats. But whether it can win the election is another matter.

He also acknowledged the achievements and service of Julia Gillard, saying he was impressed by her intellect and strength of character.