Helen Clark

Key’s cunning in backing Clark

It was left unsaid by the left-wing as Helen Clark forlornly tried to head up the UN, supported by John Key. The left-wing would have been cringing but wondering what to say about the support of the devil incarnate for Saint Helen of Mt Albert.

Danyl McLauchlan has discovered the cunning of John Key.

Domestically the big winner in all this is Key, who got to demonstrate to a couple hundred thousand female swing-voters what a progressive, balanced women-leader-supporting, generally great guy he is. It’s conventional wisdom on the left that Key et al are morons, and the left is morally and intellectually superior, and I’m not sure how this squares with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things, and the left’s parties and leaders mostly, consistently being pretty dumb. But we have all those withering take-downs of neoliberalism and books on Gramsci! It’s almost as if we congratulate ourselves on metrics that have nothing to do with success in modern democratic contests.

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Helen Clark’s UN failure: the post mortem

The same journalists who were her cheerleaders are now kicking the shit out of her. The media were calling Clark a favourite a few months ago…now they are saying her chances were hopeless from the get go.

Audrey Young plays listicles:

After months of campaigning and six ballots it is evident there are many. Here are the top 10:

1. State of Origin I: She was not from Eastern Europe when it was considered Eastern Europe’s turn in the rotational tradition of appointment.

2. State of Origin II: She was not from Europe at all which was considered the second best option by the adherents to the rotational ethos including Russia and France.

3. Leadership Style: While both have been competent leaders of countries and UN agencies, he as UN High Commissioner for Refugees and she as head of the UN Development Programme, Guterres is seen as a warmer character than Clark.

4. Refugee crisis: The severity of the refugee crisis facing Europe cannot but have enhanced the prospects of Guterres.   Read more »

It’s over for Hels

Poor Helen Clark…she’s done and dusted in her bid to be boss of the world.

Helen Clark’s bid for the top job at the United Nations has finally been sunk, with the Security Council unanimously endorsing another candidate.

The Government says it has no regrets about backing Clark, with the campaign “well worth it” given the chance to promote a Kiwi on the world stage.

In the sixth straw poll for the UN secretary-general position, former Portugese prime minister Antonio Guterres was announced as the winner, with a formal endorsement “by acclamation” to take place on Friday (NZ time).   Read more »

Red Claire doesn’t like it when Mum and Dad fight


Labour leader Andrew Little has presented his election winning strategy for 2017 and it is shaped like a donut.

There is a big hole in the centre.

He presented this sweet treat after former Prime Minister Helen Clark advised that in order to win an election in New Zealand “you must command the centre ground.”

Not so, Little said. The centre did not exist. It was a “hollow term”. It was the middle of the donut. This came as a shock to many. It has long been accepted wisdom that reaping votes from the centre was the key recipe for electoral success.

Then again, it was also once accepted wisdom that the earth was flat. Just as Ferdinand Magellan set out to prove the earth was round, Little embarked to disprove the centre ground theory.

He would not win in 2017 by taking the centre ground. Instead, he would win by taking “middle New Zealand”.

He would do this by appealing to “a coalition of constituencies”.

How do you pick between Andy and Helen?  How can Andy possibly put poor Claire in that position?   Read more »

Give it up Hels, a new Eastern European candidate emerges

Helen Clark should jack it in as a new Eastern European candidate emerges for the role of UN Sectretary-General.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s chances of winning the UN chief role may have just ground to a halt after a late entry from a Eastern European woman.

EU budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has announced she will contest the United Nations Secretary-General race and is shaping up to be the ‘compromise candidate’ Clark had hoped to become.

The Bulgarian Government has transferred their support from Irina Bokova – their original pick who is beating Clark – to back Georgieva, who is supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.   Read more »

John and Helen, time to smell the coffee

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark is losing support in her historic bid to become the first woman to head the United Nations, but she has no plans to quit the race.

Miss Clark finished equal seventh in the UN Security Council’s fifth secret ballot held in New York on Monday for the soon-to-be vacant secretary-general’s position.

It was one position better than the fourth poll on September 9.

But, in a disappointing sign for her campaign, nine of the 15 countries on the Security Council gave her “discourage” votes, two more than the last poll.

Miss Clark told supporters she was continuing her campaign and looking forward to the next phase of the vote.

“Many thanks to UN Security Council members who continued to support me,” Miss Clark wrote on Twitter. Read more »


Vernon is still baffled, this time over John Key’s support for Dear ex-Leader

Vernon is still baffled, this time over John Key’s support for Dear ex-Leader, Helen Clark.

Contrast Little’s stance with Prime Minister John Key’s enthusiastic championing of Clark, his former rival, as the next United Nations chief.

There are no signs the straw poll overnight will contain any better news for Clark, who has languished down the league tables so far.

But Key has been unstinting in his efforts, leading US Vice-President Joe Biden to joke he thought she must be Key’s sister.

There must have been times when Key felt like telling her the game is up, especially now a couple of countries with veto powers have been tipped among her “discourage” votes. But he has steadfastly insisted in public that the call to quit is hers, not his, to make.   Read more »

Something is amiss when you burn off your fanbois

Vernon Small goes through life with red tinted glasses, but he is perplexed over Andrew Little’s bizarre rejection of Helen Clark’s sage advice.

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

Perhaps Little was trying to say something more subtle – that the centre can be owned by someone else (not John Key surely? Maybe Winston Peters?) without embracing defeat.   Read more »

I know why John Key is helping Helen Clark

The Media party are all a flutter trying to work out why Key is helping Hels.

High up in a building that jostles for space on New York’s Third Ave is where Team Clark is based – the dedicated group of Foreign Affairs staffers tasked with backing Helen Clark’s bid to lead the United Nations.

This is where Clark comes to discuss her “talking points” for upcoming meetings, and for a “debrief” afterward. Notes are kept of her various meetings and conversations, tabs are kept on which countries might be supporting Clark’s bid and – though no one will admit it – there will likely be assessments of her rivals as well.

Another dedicated team based back in Wellington is also working on Clark’s bid. Coupled with the former prime minister’s legendary drive and energy, one thing is clear about this campaign – team Clark is not going to to die wondering if it could have done more.

Prime Minister John Key keeps making the point that Clark’s place in the middle of the pack so far has nothing to do with her credentials or ability but everything to do with geopolitical realities. You can make the same case about the team of experts working in the background of her campaign.

[…]   Read more »

Helen Clark’s advice to Andrew Little was basically “be like John Key”

Oh my.  No love lost between Hells Bells and Angry Andy, that much is clear.

Labour leader Andrew Little has rejected a suggestion by his predecessor Helen Clark that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, describing the suggestion as “a pretty hollow view”.

Little says he instead is focused on building “a coalition of constituencies” as he prepares for next year’s election.

Clark told TVNZ progressive parties like Labour could not be written off and had to “roll with the punches” despite poor results around the world in recent years.

She also suggested Andrew Little should just “be himself”.

However, they had to ensure they had the support of voters in the centre in order to succeed, she said.

“It’s possible and it’s necessary, because to win an election in New Zealand or probably any Western society, you must command the centre ground. Read more »