Helen Clark

Running New Zealand as a communist country not good enough for a UN win


Clark has been tireless in her campaign, courting international media, and cultivating a big following on social media. She has done so knowing that she enters the race with a huge handicap – there is a prevailing view that it is Eastern Europe’s “turn” to lead the UN under the so-called regional rotation “rule”, and the odds would appear to be stacked against her given the large number of Eastern European candidates.

The decision will ultimately come down to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – US, Britain, China, Russia and France – and some of them appear to prefer other candidates, which further raises the odds.

But despite that Clark is regularly touted as the frontrunner and that has ruffled feathers.

She has been rated as the best performer, but that may just get her to “most capable loser”, as the fact she wasn’t actually born in a Soviet bloc country will weigh heavily against her. Read more »


Watch Helen get grilled live on TV

Helen Clark might have been a camel jockey but Kind David probably wasn't

John Key is canvassing support for Helen Clark to be the next United Nations secretary-general as he meets national leaders on his trip to Europe and Indonesia but says she faces a “really tough fight” to get the job.

“All the feedback we continue to get is that she is extremely well thought of,” he told reporters in London on Tuesday.

Mr Key said outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron told him on Monday he thought Ms Clark, who is now the head of the UN Development Programme, would potentially be very good in the top UN job.

The first straw poll on the post will be held later this month to narrow down the field.

Mr Key said he would be canvassing support for the “outstanding” candidate Ms Clark when he meets national leaders in Italy, France and Indonesia later this week.

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Jacinda, your time is now


The stars seem to be aligning for an all-female power takeover. In the UK they will have a female PM as the remaining two candidates are, well, women.  Read more »

Mike Williams on leadership of Labour and of National

Mike,”Fat Tony” Williams was Labour’s best fundraiser. He was also the president of Labour under Helen Clark and resigned shortly after the 2008 election loss.

He writes in the “Hawkes Bay Today” about Labour’s leadership problems:

THE week in politics graphically underlined the knife-edge result of the 2014 general election.

A parliamentary majority was recently assembled by the Labour Party to extend paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and Finance Minister Bill English was forced into the rare use of a “financial veto” to defeat a measure that would have otherwise passed into law.

This demonstrates just how close the National-led government came to defeat in 2014, and caused me to contemplate our political parties’ succession plans and to speculate on who will be National leader in a few years’ time.

One of the few weaknesses of the Helen Clark government was that no such plan was developed and this meant that Phil Goff, her successor, got off to a weak start from which he arguably didn’t recover.

We acted as though Helen would be there forever, even though we all knew that anything more than three terms was historically unlikely.

Goff was effectively selected over the heads of the party and the caucus as a whole by the outgoing cabinet, which delivered a fait accompli via cabinet solidarity.

He would have won a contested ballot, but the contest would have engaged the media and given him a three-dimensional profile which he never really achieved.

As he contests the Auckland mayoralty, people are getting to know him in ways that simply didn’t happen when he was Labour Party leader. He’s interesting, he’s funny and he’s grounded.

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From 750 a year to 1000 a year. Helen will be pleased


Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says per capita, New Zealand ranks seventh in the world for accepting refugees.

That’s if you don’t count, in his words, “irregular migration” — refugees who aren’t accepted as a part of an official quota.

Mr Woodhouse’s comments come a day after the Government announced the first increase to the refugee quota in three decades — from 750 to 1000. It won’t kick in until 2018, after a temporary increase to take in Syrian refugees has ended.

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If you are a New Zealander you have fewer rights

Australian newspapers have rejected an attempt to kickstart a campaign to get Kiwis equal rights across the ditch.

Michael Horton, former owner of the New Zealand Herald, took out an ad in The Listener last month highlighting 138 countries whose citizens can apply for Australian citizenship — including Myanmar, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and one whose citizens can’t — New Zealand.

Mr Horton says the advert didn’t take much effort to come up with.

“One Sunday morning I woke up and that very ad was in my mind, just there in front of me like a vision from heaven,” Mr Horton told Paul Henry on Monday.

He tried to run it in a number of Sydney newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald, but was rejected — and doesn’t know why. Read more »

Red Tracy says the Fiji trip was a diplomatic disaster

John Key is definitely not going to be pleased with his Fiji trip.

Sadly it was all too predictable. The government has been misled for the better part of a decade over Fiji. National had a chance to distance themselves from the petulance of Helen Clark’s sanctions and rudeness but Murray McCully kept everything in place and the government lectured and hectored and made ultimatums to Fiji.

The Fijians ignored it all and set themselves on a path to true freedom, creating a new constitution, abandoning colonial institutions and systemic racism to create one Fiji for all Fijians irrespective of race.

The Media party and our government insisted a corrupt government elected by a corrupt electoral process be re-installed…because democracy. They keep on calling Bainimarama’s actions a coup, but in reality it was a revolution…not unlike that which England went through, or the United States…except without the bloodshed.

Don’t be fooled by the polite smiles shared by John Key and Frank Bainimarama as they greeted each other on Friday morning.

Keys delegation would have been seething over the Fijian prime minister’s extraordinary diplomatic slapdown at an official state dinner in Suva on Thursday evening.

Bainimarama used the speech – and the rare presence of New Zealand media – to rehash 10 years worth of personal grievances against New Zealand and Australia and deliberately embarrassed Key by publicly demolishing some of his talking points for their Friday meeting, including restrictions on the press.

It didn’t go unnoticed either that Bainimarama was hardly effusive in his acknowledgement of New Zealand’s assistance during Cyclone Winston, our biggest ever post World War II deployment.

If a picture can speak a thousand words it was visible on the blank faces of those seated at the top table with Key, a group which included some of his closest advisors and Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

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Strong words from Bainimarama to Key, let’s hope he was listening

John Key’s visit to Fiji hasn’t gone as smooth as he would have liked and his advocacy on behalf of journalists was not taken well.

During the main speeches Key focussed on democracy, but didn’t appear interested in re-litigating the past, informing all that he wants to engage in the modern Fiji, working together.

Key took a more political and safe stance on Fiji.

Then it came to Fiji PM Frank Banimarama and in his speech he slammed the media about false reporting. Although he didn’t mention Barbara Dreaver by name he did mention her reporting of kids eating grass, tanks in the street (when Fiji doesn’t have any tanks). There was a clear message in his speech for her…and it appears it is don’t bother coming back, you won’t be allowed in.

Prime Minister, let me also confront head on the issue of media freedom and more particularly, the right of access to Fiji by certain of your journalists. No-one who reports on events in Fiji fairly and in a balanced manner is excluded. Any journalist is free to criticise my government or me in an opinion piece or report criticism made by others in their news stories. But we cannot allow the wilful propagation of false information that damages the national interest and undermines our vulnerable economy. And that is what has happened in the case of certain New Zealand journalists and others from Australia. Incidentally, no journalist from any other country has been banned from Fiji.

New Zealand television ran footage of tanks in the streets of Suva when our military does not own any tanks. They had been interposed from other sources. A claim was made that Fijian children were starving and were eating grass. These are egregious examples of wilful bias and misreporting. As a great British newspaper editor once said, comment is free but facts are sacred. Yet certain journalists in New Zealand and Australia – along with certain journalists in Fiji – think nothing of dispensing with the facts if they get in the way of the politically weighted narrative they want to tell. And we are saying to the news organisations that employ them: send someone else. Someone who respects the facts and the right of people to know the truth. Not some twisted concoction.

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Clark is only number 22 on the world’s most powerful women list


Helen Clark’s Sith powers seem to be failing her, she is listed at number 22 on the list of the most powerful women in the world.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has been named as one of the most powerful women in the world.

Ms Clark, who is campaigning to be the United Nations’ Secretary-General, is featured in Forbes magazine’s latest The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.

She sits on the number 22 spot.

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Trotter isn’t convinced either

Chris Trotter is a loyal servant of the left, but what I like about Chris is that he isn’t a cheerleader no matter what. If someone on the left does something dopey then he will say so.

It is therefore very interesting when he isn’t convinced of the merits of a Labour/Green merger.

AS SO OFTEN HAPPENS when I appear on Paul Henry’s morning show, a host of lefties have devoted the rest of the day to disowning me. Underpinning their criticism is a strongly held belief that anyone billed as “left-wing” has a duty to stick up for Team Red – no matter what. Independent critical analysis is not considered helpful. Whenever someone like Paul Henry asks someone from the Left for their opinion, the only acceptable response, apparently, is: “Hooray for our side!”

But whatever else I may be, I am not a cheerleader. If I believe the Labour and Green parties have announced their new “Understanding” far too soon; without preparing the electorate or priming the news media; without securing real and valuable gains for both partners; without carefully gauging the reaction of both their members and their voters; and without having straightforward answers to journalists’ straightforward (and entirely predictable) questions; then I reserve the right to speak bluntly and critically about these deficiencies.

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