New Zealand Prime Minister-elect John Key says New Zealanders "voted for change" in Saturday's election which swept his center-right National Party into power.

Mr. Key's party won 45 percent of the vote, which translates to 59 seats in the 122-seat parliament.  With support from its allied parties, the National Party has enough seats to give it a majority.

Mr. Key had campaigned on a promise of change, capitalizing on voters' concerns about New Zealand's economic recession. 

Speaking to supporters after his election, he said they had voted for what he called  "a safer, more prosperous and a more ambitious New Zealand."  He said the global financial crisis may mean a rocky road ahead and promised to work for national unity.

Prime minister Helen Clark has conceded defeat and said she will step down as leader of the center-left Labor Party.

The center-left Labor Party, which had been seeking a fourth three-year term, had 34 percent of the vote, giving it 43 seats.

The National Party will have to work with smaller parties to form a ruling coalition and choose a prime minister. 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.