Bill English says his party will be the strongest opposition the country has seen - and has pointed out as leader he "earned significantly more votes than the new Prime Minister".
Talking to media shortly after Labour released its agreements with New Zealand First and the Greens, English repeatedly stressed National's position as easily the biggest party.
English was re-elected leader unopposed at a National caucus meeting today, and afterwards said he expected to and was committed to staying on in that role to the 2020 election.
"We are the strongest opposition that New Zealand Parliament has seen," English said.
"We have this unusual situation - an opposition party going into Parliament where I as a leader earned significantly more votes than the new Prime Minister. Where my party has more seats than the governing coalition. And where we have a programme that almost one in two New Zealanders backed with enthusiasm in the last election."
Paula Bennett was also re-elected as National deputy leader. English repeatedly used the word "positive" in his standup with media, saying National had a more positive view about the country's prospects, and summing up his role in opposition as about "positive leadership".
"People have done a lot of work over the last 10 years to get to being one of the better performing economies in the developed world. The policies we are seeing from the incoming government could fritter that away.
"We will hold them to account on the high expectations they have created that, for instance, incomes will rise faster and they will make significantly better progress on some of the more challenging environmental and social issues."
English said the agreements released today needed to be viewed along with other Labour policies not mentioned, such as the costly pledge to roll out free tertiary study. Labour's plans for taxes and intention to cancel National's tax cut package wasn't included in the agreements either, English said.
"The Greens and New Zealand First will be voting against a tax package they voted for just two or three months ago."
English said he was sure his performance would come under scrutiny.
"Just like everybody else's. That's what happens in opposition. But we do have a quite unique situation here - an opposition where 44.5 per cent of New Zealanders voted for it."
The incoming Government was starting from a weaker position than most, English said.
"And that is that in an election campaign where the public had the opportunity to endorse Labour as the largest party they fell well short of it. They now have a three-party coalition with quite a few contradictory instincts and policies."