Saskatchewan politicians say the new year will bring challenges and changes to the government and the Opposition.

Premier Brad Wall says Saskatchewan will not be immune to the economic downturn facing the rest of Canada in 2009, but says it's in better shape than other provinces.

Wall's government reduced the provincial debt by about 40 per cent — to $4.2 billion — over the past year.

He says his next budget, to be delivered in March, will be the "best chance to peer into the future" to see when the government might be able to eliminate its debt.

The New Democrats will elect a new leader and outgoing leader Lorne Calvert says he hopes the race will help the party reconnect with the community.

Calvert admits he's still trying to decide if he'll stay in politics after his replacement is chosen.