Labour leader Andrew Little is questioning whether the National Party's new leadership will bring any real change to the government's direction.
The party's MPs formally chose Bill English as their new leader this morning, and Paula Bennett as his deputy.
Mr English is replacing John Key, who is about to officially resign as Prime Minister.
Mr English said this morning that he wanted to be a positive leader for the country.
"I think that we're a country that's matured in many ways since the very difficult period we had in the late '80s and early '90s," he said.
"I've been able to watch that whole process, and I want to be a prime minister [under which] New Zealanders can feel that they can flourish here."
He said a reshuffled Cabinet was likely to be announced later this week, before the end of the sitting year.
Mr Little said he was "sceptical" about what the change at the top would represent.
"They are saying they represent change, when they've been part of every decision of this government for the last eight years.
"They say they represent change - let's see what that looks like."
He was confident that Labour could beat a Bill English-led National Party at next year's election, he said.
Mr English and Mrs Bennett will be formally appointed as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister at Government House in Wellington this afternoon, after Mr Key formally resigns.