At a meeting with Key in New York on Thursday (NZT), Clark said she would “neither confirm nor deny” she would be seeking the top job – “as was said about nuclear weapons for many years”.
But Key is offering his wholehearted backing should she decide to throw her hat in the ring, saying Clark would be the best person for the job.
“I’m doing everything I can and will do if she becomes the genuine runner for secretary general … I genuinely think she will be a great leader of he UN and hope she gets there.”
That included having a word in the ear of other world leaders including “one or two I play golf or hang with”, Key said – a reference to US President Barack Obama, who he has joined on the golf course previously.
Key said it would be huge for New Zealand if Clark won the job and the fact they were once rivals “wouldn’t stop me having a lot of pride in her” if she succeeded.
I think it will be someone from Eastern Europe, but if the regional rotation system breaks down, then of course we should back Clark. Regardless of your views of her as PM, having a NZer achieve the top UN job would be huge.
A rival challenger could be Australia’s Kevin Rudd, whose move to the US has fuelled speculation that he intends throwing his hat in the ring.
Key said he had heard the speculation but had not spoken to Rudd about it.
Asked if he would support Rudd’s bid Key said: “If he stood and no one else did we’d back him.”
Oh that is hilarious – we’d back Rudd if no one else stands. Laughing out loud. Talk about damning with faint praise.