UN Secretary-General

Audrey Young wonders how National reconciles its statement saying they would support Helen Clark for the UN Secretary-General job, with their statement that she has presided over the most corrupt Government in the last 150 110 years.

As Rodney Hide points out, the latter could be seen as excellent training for the former 🙂

Turning to the merits of a Clark candidacy itself, I have to say I think it would be a stretch. Clark has some obvious competencies and is no slouch at foreign affairs (though I disagree with her strategic outlook and views). I could see her being a credible candidate for one of the various UN agencies, and she would probably do a reasonably good job with them.

But the job of UN Secretary-General itself is incredibly challenging. You need to retain the confidence of all five permanent SC members, you need to be able to manage the huge bureaucracy, and you need to be able to work with heads of states of all kinds. I don’t think Clark will be seen as operating at that level. Mainly because NZ is such a small player we don’t get involved in serious stuff like someone in South Korea does.

Of course the job is not just chosen on competence, but geopolitical lobbying. It will be interesting to see who is chosen in the end. The process appears to be more transparent than in the past where only the Big 5 decided. US Ambassador John Bolton has introduced some welcome transparency.

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