WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key won a second term Saturday, with voters in no mood for change after a tumultuous year marked by a devastating earthquake and glory in the Rugby World Cup. Key's centre-right National Party fell just short of an outright majority but lifted its vote by more than three points to 48.1 percent, its highest in 60 years, and will form government in coalition with minor parties. "What an awesome night, and what a wonderful night to be the leader of the National Party," he told cheering supporters at Auckland's upmarket SkyCity Casino. The election followed a turbulent 12 months for New Zealand, which was rocked by February's Christchurch earthquake, in which 181 people died, and buoyed by last month's victory in the Rugby World Cup. Key, 50, won plaudits for his leadership through the quake, as well as a colliery explosion in which 29 miners died, and much of National's campaign was based around his personal popularity."In the worst of times you see the very best of New Zealanders and I'm proud to be prime minister of this great country," the former investment banker said. The main opposition Labour Party secured only 27 percent of the vote, its worst result since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996. Labour leader Phil Goff said he accepted the electorate's decision but his party would hold the government to account and rebuild for the next election. "It might not be our time this time, but our time will come again and we will be ready to take New Zealand forward," he said, refusing to say if he would stay on as leader. "We're a bit bloodied but we're not defeated." However former Labour Party president Mike Williams: "It's an an unmitigated disaster." The result gives National 60 seats in a 121 seat parliament but support from existing coalition partners ACT and United Future, with one seat each, gives it the required 61-seat threshold in the proportional representation parliament. The Maori Party, which also supported the government in its first term was in line to take three seats, further increasing Key's buffer if he can again secure its support. Key has pledged to partially privatise state assets, including power companies, during his second term, as well as tightening welfare benefits and cutting public sector jobs in a bid to reduce debt in the struggling economy. With the economy growing just 1.5 percent in the year to June, has also committed to reining in a record NZ$18.4 billion ($13.6 billion) deficit, which led to sovereign ratings downgrades in September. The biggest winner among the minor parties was New Zealand First, led by former foreign minister Winston Peters, which claimed eight seats to storm back from political oblivion at the last election in 2008. Peters, who has previously raised concerns about New Zealand becoming an "Asian colony", campaigned against foreign ownership and the partial sale of state assets. "There are serious economic problems we face as a country and we will never get through them unless we are united as one people," he said. The Greens were jubilant after claiming 10.6 percent of the vote, increasing its numbers in parliament from nine to 13. In contrast, the conservative ACT Party's numbers fell from five to one, prompting leader Don Brash to resign, saying: "Clearly its not tenable for me to stay." A referendum attached to this election asks New Zealanders whether they wish to change to another voting system such as first-past-the-post. Results of that poll will not be released until December 10.