Labour leader Andrew Little says he pities Australia if its new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, wants to be like New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
He said Mr Key had presided over seven deficits, a growing public debt, and an economy that did not have much to show for seven years of a National Government.
"If that's Malcolm Turnbull's ambitions, then I pity Australia."
In Mr Turnbull's first press conference last night after ousting Tony Abbott from the job, he complimented Mr Key's leadership style, saying he had an ability to take the public with him over economic reforms by respecting the intelligence of people, explaining the issues and putting the case for change.
Mr Little said there was a deep-seated problem in Australia where it seemed politicians did not have confidence in each other or the system.
"I don't know exactly what it is apart perhaps from something in Canberra's water but it is an unusual turn of events for a large, developed country like Australia to have such a rapid change in Prime Ministers and no Prime Minister serving out their full parliamentary term."
He said there a disturbing level of instability within the political establishment that was not healthy for Australia.
"And for New Zealand, which relies on trade with Australia, it is not actually healthy for us either."
Mr Key said he spoke to Mr Turnbull this morning to offer his congratulations and to tell him he looked forward to a strong and constructive relationship with Australia.
He also texted Mr Abbott last night.
Mr Key said that in his phone call, Mr Turnbull said New Zealand had had stable leadership over a period of time with good economic results.
"That is flattering."
Mr Key said he and Mr Turnbull were both moderates and at the centre of their respective National and Liberal parties.
They both came from an investment banking background.
"He has got strong economic credentials. He has a very good understanding of the economy and in his portfolio areas [Communications] he has been very proficient."
Mr Key said he knew him from their banking days but not very well.
Mr Key believed Australia would be looking for a period of stability now.
"The only country we can see in the Pacific that has had more change in a short period of time has been Vanuatu."
Mr Key did not believe there would a dramatic change in the direction of the relationship.
Julia Gillard as Prime Minister had been very engaged with New Zealand - "Kevin Rudd less so, to be blunt."
But Mr Abbott was very focused on New Zealand and he believed Mr Turnbull would be.
Mr Key said he would like to raise a couple of issues with him about New Zealanders living Australia "to test the waters at the appropriate time" but he would not say what they were.