Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian federal election.
Albanese emerged victorious over Scott Morrison after an epic, six-week election campaign, ending the conservative coalition's almost decade-long reign.
Ardern said she spoke to Albanese this morning.
"It was a warm conversation and I'm really looking forward to formally meeting with him soon," Ardern said.
"Anthony and I have had the chance to meet before and I have no doubt we'll have a strong working relationship that will serve both countries well."
The implications of Albanese's victory for New Zealand remain to be seen, but throughout the campaign he has taken a softer stance on key issues including immigration and opposed the Morrison government's bid to increase 501 deportations - a sore point between the countries.
Ardern said Australia was New Zealand's "most important partner".
"Our only official ally and single economic market relationship, and I believe our countries will work even more closely together in these tumultuous times."
Ardern also acknowledged "the strong working relationship" with Morrison, who'd been Australia's prime minister since 2018.
"I am confident that the close and unique relationship between New Zealand and Australia will continue under Mr Albanese's leadership.
"I hope to meet Prime Minister Albanese in the near future, and look forward to working with him on a range of issues including supporting New Zealanders living in Australia, making transtasman business even easier, deepening our partnership with our close friends in the Pacific, and advancing our interests on the world stage
"Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are at our best when we work together; when we acknowledge our mutual interests, our shared values and the uniqueness of our perspectives; when we stand united as allies and whānau, recognising the strength in our diversity."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson also congratulated Albanese and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers on their win.
"Look forward to working with [Chalmers] on how our economies can grow together. I also want to acknowledge the constructive relationship I have had with [former treasurer] Josh Frydenberg, and wish him well for the future."
National Party leader Christopher Luxon congratulated Albanese and said he would make a "good partner for New Zealand".
"Australia is New Zealand's closest friend. Our deep ties cross historical, cultural and sporting connections, beyond what we share with any other country. It is vital for our shared interests that we continue to work to strengthen the relationship.
"I have met Anthony Albanese several times and I always found him to be friendly, open and engaged. He will make a good partner for New Zealand and we look forward to working with him in the future."
Luxon said his party also acknowledged Morrison's "hard work and leadership" and wished him and his family luck.
Addressing media last night, Albanese said the win was an "incredible honour".
"I want to unite people. People want to come together, look for common interest, look towards the sense of common purpose," he said.
"I think people have had enough of division. What they want is to come together as a nation, and I intend to lead that."
Morrison fronted his supporters last night to concede defeat, acknowledging it was a "difficult night for Liberals and Nationals around the country".
"Tonight, I have spoken to the Leader of the Opposition, and the incoming Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and I've congratulated on his election victory this evening," he said.
"In this country, at a time like this, when we look around the world, and particularly when we see those in the Ukraine fighting for their very freedom and liberty, I think on a night like tonight, we can reflect on the greatness of our democracy."
Soon after accepting defeat, Morrison announced he would quit the Liberal leadership, but stay in parliament, and three years from now he "looked forward" to the re-election of a Liberal Government.
"To my colleagues tonight, who have had to deal with very difficult news, and have lost their seats tonight, I as leader take responsibility for the wins and the losses,'' he said.
The son of a single mother who grew up in an inner Sydney public housing estate, Anthony Norman Albanese famously overcame a humble childhood to emerge as one of the most powerful players in Australian politics 26-year career.
Albanese first won the seat of Grayndler in Sydney's inner west in 1996, and since then, he has steadily risen through the ranks of the ALP, and was first appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in 2001.
In June 2013, he was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, and a day later was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister, a role he held until Labor's defeat at the 2013 election.
He then announced his candidacy as leader, although Bill Shorten ultimately succeeded after a month-long contest that was the first to involve a combined vote of MPs and rank-and-file members.
While Albanese won a large majority of the membership at the time, Shorten secured more MP votes, and was able to nab the top job.
Albanese was then appointed Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Shadow Minister for Tourism, and later Shadow Minister for Cities.
Following Shorten's resignation after the 2019 election loss, Albanese was elected as leader unopposed, after Chris Bowen pulled out of the race.
While critics blasted Albanese's election campaign stumbles and slammed a perceived lack of big policy announcements, the 59-year-old has obviously done an impressive job, trouncing Morrison in the first and last leaders' debate while the second ended in a tie, before finally defeating him at the polls.
- with news.com.au