New National leader Christopher Luxon has taken aim at the Labour Party in his inaugural speech, saying Aotearoa is at a critical crossroads as the country grapples with, and emerges from a pandemic.
Luxon described an "uncontested leadership" as he was voted in on Monday, with MP Nicola Willis who was announced as deputy by his side.
"I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role," Luxon said in his speech.
"But today I want to be very clear with you about one thing: New Zealand is at a critical cross-roads as we grapple with, and emerge from, a global pandemic.
"We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future.
"New Zealand needs an alternative now more than ever to take us in the right direction – because frankly, the country is heading the wrong way.
"Inflation is soaring. We are paying more than ever before at the checkout and the petrol pump, and everyday Kiwis are struggling to get ahead.
"There’ll be a million Kiwis missing at Christmas dinner this year because they can’t get home to see their loved ones.
"After over 100 days in lockdown, Aucklanders are still utterly confused and directionless," Luxon said.
He said the country's "provincial heartland" was being "taken for granted," adding that farmers are not villains.
Luxon took aim at Labour, saying "good PR" had not delivered for New Zealand.
"I know that there is a massive difference between announcements and achievement," he said.
"Talking about something gets you a headline. Actually getting things done is what improves the lives of everyday New Zealanders. For four years, New Zealand has had a government great at delivering good PR but woeful at delivering much else.
"Nice ideas and good intentions don’t pay the rent or the mortgage, educate our children, keep us healthy, keep us safe from crime and gangs, improve our mental health, lower our emissions or keep us united.
"I’ve seen the incredible things that people can accomplish when they are freed up and given the tools and the choices to seize opportunities.
"I believe in a New Zealand that rewards hard work; a New Zealand that empowers Kiwis to take a punt and create prosperity for themselves and their families.
"Growing our economy and raising productivity are the single biggest things we can do to improve the lives of all New Zealanders."
Luxon said he is "proud to lead a government-in-waiting that will work every day to represent all New Zealanders – a “national National Party” that earns back the trust and confidence of Kiwis, and actually delivers for them.