Helen Clark is poised to confirm her bid for the United Nations’ top job with John Key’s blessing.
Key is expected to announce on Tuesday that New Zealand will nominate Clark for the position of United Nations Secretary General, which becomes vacant with the retirement of Ban Ki-Moon later this year.
The Government’s backing ensures a concerted diplomatic campaign will be thrown behind Clark’s bid, and Key has made it clear he will use his access to world leaders to lobby on her behalf at every opportunity.
As head of the UN development programme Clark is already the third most powerful person at the UN. But she has increasingly been linked to the top job, in part because of her work at the UNDP, and also because of a push to install the UN’s first female boss.
But there is stiff competition, with Clark expected to join a crowded field that hosts a number of women candidates including the current director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.
There has also been speculation about a rival closer to home – former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd is said to be lobbying intensely in New York as well.
The biggest obstacle to Clark getting the job may be UN politics, with a number of countries already stating their support for the view that it is Eastern Europe’s “turn” to hold the job.
That’s more than a view. While not a written rule, it has been the unofficial rule for decades that you rotate through the regions.
But there has been talk among UN observers, including Rudd, that Clark could emerge the “compromise” candidate if the large number of Eastern European candidates cancel each other out.
Not if they cancel each other out. It is as simple as if any of them can get past a veto from the P5, especially Russia. If Russia says one of them is acceptable, then they are highly likely to become Secretary-General. If Russia vetoes them all, then Clark’s chances become much greater.
Hard to know what Putin will do. He’d anger a lot of Eastern Europe if he blocks one of them becoming SG, but hey he’s already invaded parts of various countries, so who knows.
He believed New Zealanders would be hugely proud if she succeeded.
“If Helen became the next secretary general of the UN New Zealanders would celebrate in the same way they celebrate Lorde for her singing and Lydia Ko in golf.”
Umm, not quite. It would be a proud moment for NZ for one of us to head up the UN. But someone who has been a partisan politician will never be seen in quite the same way as someone who wasn’t.
UPDATE: Key has now formally nominated Clark. The campaign website is here. As it is Key that nominated Clark, I wonder if Labour and Green MPs will allow KDS to force them to oppose the nomination!