Guardian editorial thinks Helen Clark is inappropriate to lead the UN

This must be devastating for Helen Clark to read, in what is probably her favourite media organisation, one that she usually gets a  free reign in opining on whatever she feels like, has published an editorial suggesting that she is inappropriate to succeed Ban Ki Moon as UN General Secretary.

The United Nations confronts war, famine, disease, climate change and much else, but perhaps the greatest and most persistent challenge the organisation has faced is the tendency of its member states to deny it the leadership its work requires. The issue is back, as it is every decade, with the selection of a new secretary general to take over in 2016.

The UN enshrined the idea of harnessing the talents of a group of men and women from around the world, accountable to governments but working exclusively for the global good. It has only sometimes, and quite by accident, been fulfilled. When there is sufficient leadership to give life to it, the arts of peace flourish and the global discourse is enriched. When there is not, a price is paid in blood.

Fair, noble aspirations…if somewhat motherhood and apple pie in their outlook.

The editorial then disses the British candidate before setting upon Helen Clark.

The field of those seeking to be the next secretary general is widely felt to be underwhelming. Helen Clark, the head of the UN Development Programme, gave an example of how a UN official should not behave when, before the current secretary general was even halfway through his term, she began to discuss, in these pages, her interest in succeeding him. It is time for something more serious. A small search committee should be established, led by Kofi Annan, with representatives of the permanent members of the security council, other regions, and a professional headhunter, and it should work through most of next year. The idea that candidates should be limited to one region is unfounded and can be dispensed with. The council should recommend more than one candidate to the general assembly, which should make an appointment for a single term of seven years.

Ouch, rather dismissive, and bound to set off the left…except this is the Guardian editorial…oh my how will they spin that?

Hiring the corrupt Kofi Annan as a headhunter is surely a joke suggestion.

It is also time for “We the peoples”, as the UN charter begins, to claim a veto on mediocrity. The new campaign “1 for 7 billion” allows people to lend their support in a moment. “Everything will be all right,” said Dag Hammarskjöld, “when people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves.” A century after absolute sovereignty was so thoroughly discredited, nationalists everywhere are full of passionate intensity, while those who see nationalism as a force for harm often give the impression of lacking all conviction. But nationalists are yesterday’s men. It is just that too much international cooperation has been too technocratic, too deracinated, tending to provoke reaction not partnership. Instead, the aim should be humane, pluralist, global advance. A UN secretary general worthy of the office is the place to start.

When you look at Helen Clark’s achievements when PM of New Zealand then mediocre is probably a good description.

I challenge reader to suggest just one thing she achieved in her tim in office that os worthy of note…and before anyone suggest civil unions…she failed on that. She lacked the courage to push it further to full marriage something we ended up with in any case just a few short years later.

She is the ultimate technocrat, and again I challenge anyone to tell me one thing she has done since heading up the UNDP that is a legacy one can be proud of.

I admire Helen Clark’s political skill, I admire her toughness and I admire her ability to quell the factions inside of Labour.

But I do not admire her politics, her mediocrity and her blandness when it came to policy. She is unsuited to the role.


– The Guardian


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  • conwaycaptain

    OH OH OH the Guardianistas will be in paroxysms of agony over this.
    Does this mean she will return to NZ and if Labour become Govt she will become GG??

    • Wheninrome

      She doesn’t believe in that system.

      • conwaycaptain

        She is a Socialist and if offered she will take it being the hypocrite she is. Who would be her “Consort”??? Peter Davies of Heather Simpson??

        • mommadog

          If her UN ambitions don’t pan out absolutely she would take the GG role if offered. It often seems like she is still leading the Labour party to some degree since they are still running to her at every opportunity so it is not far fetched to think it would be offered and taken up.

          • conwaycaptain

            Then we would have the worst possibility of all a NZ Head Of Govt interfering in the day to day running of that Govt

          • OneTrack

            It’s not far fetched to imagine she could come back, assume the role of leader of the Labour party, and continue where she left off.

        • OneTrack

          Peter who?

          • conwaycaptain

            Her “Husband” who is a sociologist and a member of the Fabian Society. He resides in a house in Mt Albert owned by him and his erstwhile wife Hulun

        • Cadwallader

          Dazza Hughes?

    • Sailor Sam

      And get a knighthood, she would be Dame Helen Clark.
      Just like the villain in a christmas pantomime.

      • She will never take a knighthood…nor will she ever be G-G…that requires representing the Queen…a person she detests…she is hardened republican.

        This is why I won;t support a republic…because both her and Jim Bolger are still alive and I don;t want either of them to be in the running for President.

        • mike

          That assumes she is principled… I don’t think she has the same level of conviction to her stated beliefs as say Sue Bradford.

  • Wheninrome

    She is not a leader, she undermines those near her in order to prevent them from being “noticed”. She does not take people with her for the benefit of all, she actually bullied members of her party.
    Dame Turia Tariana was a wonderful example of Helen bullying. She at least had the courage to stick with her principles as best she could, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

    • Cadwallader

      Mind you she refused to let the Greenies anywhere near her cabinet. This was a move of a pragmatic rather than a principled leader though.

  • Bobb

    “One thing she achieved in office worthy of note”? Only the most important of all…. She destroyed the left as a cohesive force capable of offering itself as an alternative government for NZ. I would say that rates very highly as an achievement.

    • mommadog

      That may be the one good reason for putting her in charge of the UN. As an institution it is past its prime and use. Helen could help it go away.

  • Wallace Westland

    Helens’ achievements:

    *Ate up all the economic benefits put in place over many years by the previous National Government
    *Rode the economic wave put in place by others and spun it as the financial genius of Michael (my only investment is a house in St. Kilda) Cullen
    *9 years of power bought via bribery by lowering the drinking age and introducing middle class benefits WFF & Interest Free student loans
    *Fastest ever capitulation of a politician when the wellspring of corruption and bribery that kept her in power had clearly been milked dry.

    She’s perfectly qualified to lead the corrupt incompetent minions of the UN and gets my vote.
    The scary alternative could be having the po faced man hating misery guts back here and who needs that?

    • Wallace Westland

      Forgot dismantled an Airforce and completely emasculated an entire nations armed forces a feat only ever achieved by one other person, Harry S. Truman at the Japanese surrender.

    • Kapow

      Jenny Shipley lowered the drinking age. i wish we could blame Helen for that though.

      • Wallace Westland

        My bad. The bill I believe was introduced by Labour and a conscience vote under Jenny Shipley’s Government but came into force after Helen and co got into power.
        So yes you are correct.

    • Murray Smith

      Also started the tenure review process, thereby helping New Zealanders buy back their own land from high country leaseholders. A dole payment to farmers in order to protect walkers and scenic rights. Both of which were in perfect order already. Millions of taxpayer dollars wasted.

    • Albert Lane

      I was absent from NZ during most of Helen Clark’s reign, and for some time have been pondering as to why the NZ parliament recently voted to retain the drinking age at 18 (I didn’t realise she had introduced it). Can the reluctance of MPs (against overwhelming public opinion) not to return the drinking age to 20, be due to something we haven’t been told about? For instance, how much money does the industry donate to party coffers?

  • cows4me

    She did a lot of note worthy things, unsurprisingly none of them I would give a tin of crap for. She advanced welfare entitlements and thus further entrenched the ideals of socialism. She was big on political correctness and all of that sort of dribble. She wasn’t big on the freedom of speech despite claiming otherwise. A suffocating funeral shroud covering the country was lifted at her exodus. Quite frankly I hope she gets the top job, she deserves the UN and the UN deserves her. It’s simply a nest of Marxist vipers and it will never change.

    • Wheninrome

      Yes, worthy of note, whether worthy in substance is another matter.

  • T. Akston

    How did the gravy train that is the UN get so far off the rails that Alan would even be considered as it’s leader ? Oh the humanity.

  • RightofSingapore

    Its only UN Secretary-General. Its a ceremonial irrelevant that we shouldn’t a crap about-its not like a Judge on American Idol or anything its only the UN top dog

    • Cadwallader

      But if it allays any chance of Clark becoming NZ’s first El Presidente then I suppose it is worth a great expense?

  • Michael Cosgrove

    The real question that needs to be asked, of course, is what does the job require?
    I would suggest merely having been able to keep a fractious Labour Party working together for so long, with health intact, should make her a superb choice.

    • Cadwallader

      No the real question to my mind is: Would we be any worse off should the UN talk-fest simply evaporate? Of course not!

      • Michael Cosgrove

        You clearly have little idea of the humanitarian work carried out by the UN.

        • I know that the UN runs the worlds biggest welfare agency, on of that it has made precious little difference for more than 50 years and is in fact enabling of welfarism and uselessness.

          That organisation is of course UNRWA, the world’ most unsuccessful aid agency creating bludgers since 1949. It’s annual budget exceeds $1.2 billion…The so-called Palestinians get more spent on them than any other people on earth…and still they live and act like they are hard done by.

          • sheppy

            This gets me thinking.
            Are there any bludgers, in any great number anywhere in the world that are actually grateful for the handout, say thanks, and then use it to make themselves independent again rather than just whining that it’s not enough and asking for more?

          • Michael Cosgrove

            Perhaps you should stop thinking and return to your previous vegetative state. Then the downtrodden of the world won’t have to read such loathsome garbage.

          • mike

            Michael it was a valid question… albeit a bit on the nose. But he does raise a valid point, when was the last time you heard a beneficiary say thanks to the tax payers who support them?

          • jv7

            Mid 1970’s went to reflections/confession from a Yorkshireman who had had run the UN/FAO Forestry Dept for 25 years. Answer to his rhetorical question, “In how many countries has the lot of rural people improved after 25 years of UN forestry aid under my stewardship?” Only one, China who of course were not UN members and who received no such “aid”. In his assessment for all the rest no progress had been made.

          • Albert Lane

            And I believe that the New Zealand Government contributes over $1 million to UNRWA in Gaza per annum. It’s obvious that there is something wrong with their employees in Gaza, as they allowed schools to be used for the storage of rockets. And when they were found out, they happily handed the rockets back to Hamas. I’m still waiting to see the results of a UN investigation into these allegations. I suspect there will be none.

        • Cadwallader

          So state funded and controlled humanity is your preferred choice is it?

          • Michael Cosgrove


          • mike

            Michael, name one thing the UN has done which has benefited the majority of mankind.

            Please say Peace Keeping… because I’d love to point out how the UN mucked up Bosnia and Rwanda and let hundreds of thousands of civilians die while ostensibly under UN protection.

            I’d also point out that many of the nations that conduct said peace keeping missions (Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Brazil) are useless troops and are sent just to earn some money for their home nations, in essence they are nothing more than mercenaries who also commit quite serious war crimes (rape, murder, looting to name a few).

            You could say that the UN has progresses resolutions against weapons of mass destruction, but really it did nothing hence why Pakistan, India, North Korea and Iran are either now nuclear powers or working towards becoming one.

            What about global warming… nah, I mean the research is inconclusive and in fact recent events have shown that much of it is in fact falsified. And they haven’t actually done anything but make someone a lot of money.

            Face it, the UN hasn’t really done anything but make some bureaucrats very wealthy.

        • Isherman

          That’s all well and good, but what is the UN doing about the situation that created this need. For the millions of Syrians now refugees in camps such as these, they want to go back to their homes and lives, they want put and end to the war. The other big problem is that the refugees are now creating real issues in the countries that are hosting them, in terms of resources, infrastructure, financing and even employment. Temporary relief is fine, but without the teeth to produce real solutions, you invariably create more misery, hardship and resentment.

          • Michael Cosgrove

            You have listed the problems. Maybe you might like to suggest what the UN can do about it, taking into account the intransigence of the various parties involved in the conflict?

  • Day Day

    Not a big fan of the UN or Helen Clark, but it could be good for NZ to have a Kiwi as Secretary General. This opportunity won’t be repeated any time soon.

  • williamabong

    Well done Whale in getting the jump on Stuff with this story, I see they still haven’t put the article up yet.
    Personally I hope she gets the top job, the last thing this country needs is the toxic, corrupt, lying, manipulative, sour faced woman back in NZ, lord knows between the “sleepers” she left planted here, and her tentacles reaching from the lofty perch in NY she still manages to control an entire political party.

    • Murray Smith

      Woman ?

    • williamabong

      I forgot social engineer, forger, professional hatchet (wo)man, from the list of achievements.

    • Primrose

      Have just heard about her on “Radio Live” news. They probably read about it here.

  • Gus the Normal

    Considering the Guardian asked her the question and she didn’t give a direct answer ( it’s a bit disingenuous of the editorial. The Sec-Gen role is a diplomatic one. A number of the Sec-Gen’s have had a minimal ‘legacy’ before assuming the role. Would be good to see a NZer as Sec-Gen, irrespective of political bent.

    • williamabong

      Why, it is more a badge of failure to head up the UN, apart from being a Marxist controlled idealist money pit, that gobbles up mountains of cash for a minimal result the UN doesn’t seem to achieve a lot else.
      Leave Helen where she is, whilst she is yelping, knee-caping, and trying to worm her way into the big chair her influence here is diluted.

      • Gus the Normal

        I agree that it the UN is a money pit and ineffectual. I have seen them at work when I’ve been on business in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. That’s not going to change in a hurry, if ever. The Sec-Gen role is largely concerned with diplomacy and foreign policy. I might not like Clark’s politics but I can acknowledge that she does have those skills. Wouldn’t you agree that her influence here would be further diluted if she was sat in the big chair?

    • jv7

      She is and has always been nothing but an ambitious bullying “successful” political animal. Yes the Sec-Gen role is a diplomatic one and she is absolutely not a diplomat ie “how not to behave” 101.

      • Gus the Normal

        If she’d taken How Not To Behave 101 then I don’t think she’d be at #3 in the UN. Seems to be respected by the diplomats I’ve encountered overseas, much the same as most other senior members of parliament.

  • Wasapilot

    I doubt H1 and H2 will get the top UN post. Long shot, they will be NZ GG one day, meaning poor old pete davis will be hauled back into service for ceremonial duties.

  • All_on_Red

    Thank you for reading The Guardian so we don’t have to.

    • Albert Lane

      I read a good number of newspapers on line. And the Guardian is not, and never will be, one of them.

      • Pharmachick

        Their restaurant critic Jay Rayner is a genius. He’s equally likely to eviscerate a restaurant as he is to praise it. Good stuff.

        • Albert Lane

          It’s the political critics I wouldn’t like. The Guardian (formerly The Manchester Guardian) is Britain’s most left-wing newspaper.

  • williamabong

    Underwhelming, love it, should have her seething, her and Hatchet Heather will be hard out planning the revenge attack, if I wetre the editor of the Guardian I would be lying low for while.
    He obviously didn’t see the sign on the cage, “Dangerous when provoked”

  • Isherman

    Let her have it, or someone else, who cares because it doesn’t matter anyway. Why?, because the UN in its current form is a trough funded expression of the very mediocrity of words being far louder than actions, that in turn have perpetuated more issues than it ever resolved. Take for example the veto system of the permanent members on the security council, the stark truth is that the veto system has simply became an instrument for those countries to advance their own foreign policy agenda’s and thus their own national interests. Its the mother of all subscription sucking limp legged unions, that do nicely for themselves, but bugger all for anyone else. Even the humanitarian work of the UNRWA is just welfare-ism on a global scale, that has done little to advance its beneficiaries ability to develop into self supporting nations or groups. Go ask the Palestinians, the honest ones will tell you that the UN has succeeded only in removing the responsibility from their so called leadership and transferred it to donors.

    • mike

      The UN is a joke… nobody with half a brain takes it seriously. It is corrupt, it is filled with sycophants and self absorbed nobodies who are there for no other reason than to try and progress their own ideas, or make millions of other peoples suffering.

      The UN is a failed experiment. While the idea is great the actual implementation has not worked. It is time to gut the entire organisation and start again.

      • Ratchette

        ‘Failed experiment’ Quite right.
        Unfortunately a powerful failed experiment. 2015 is to be the year of an important event which I guess is the global warming treaty involving over 100 countries including NZ.
        Once in there will be no way out.

        • mike

          Just do what the US does and ignore the resolutions that they don’t like. A prime example is the ICC, the USA has so far refused to sign over to jurisdiction of US citizens to the ICC and good on them.

          Honestly whats the worst that can happen to NZ if we refuse to abide by a resolution? The UN can’t hurt us, the US would just veto any sanction because “we are close friends”

        • JKV

          Too true Ratchette. Foul organisation. Utterly filled to overflowing with troughers and spongers. We need a powerful Republican president (hopefully Marco Rubio) who will totally defund this corrupt organisation. It’s like the EU on steroids.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    For all the criticism the UN is attracting recently and the lack of relevance not to mention lack of accuracy it their reports and findings these days a leader of Clarks caliber would help to drag it to next lower level.

    Unlike her dominance of a socialist political party there would be much less cow towing to her whims and she could be just what is required to drag the UN to oblivion.

  • Ratchette

    Doubtful – unless she has learned fraunch.

    • Gus the Normal

      I had to look that up. The Urban Dictionary tells me “One who lies on their back with their legs open”. So I hope she hasn’t…

  • timemagazine

    Thank you for taking this toxic task of reading this little, so called, newspaper.
    But as long as the UN is not sanitised and cleared of the wast majority of Marxists that have found a nice cosy well payed job ( by us the taxpayers from around the world) to poison the world nothing will change and the wider world community will never care about them. So in the end it really doesn’t matter who the next Marxist leader of the UN is.

  • Wheninrome

    Perhaps it would be advantageous to New Zealand, it could be used in advertising – NZ Home of the UN Secretary General, it might be worth a few dollars to exporters, acknowledgment that we do exist outside being a small Pacific Nation. Further endorsement to the world the fact that New Zealand does punch above its weight

    • taurangaruru

      Tourists could pop round to her house & have tea & scones with Peter.

  • Jafarma

    I’m struggling to see how she can have earned credentials at the UN to step up to the top job. I’ve heard as much of her success stories whilst in the UN than I’ve seen Labour Party success stories in NZ since she left

  • Albert Lane

    Cameron. It’s not “free reign”. It’s “free rein”.

    • Cadwallader

      You are correct but for Clark it must be “reign” and for Jacinda “rein!”

  • Iva b ginn

    She inspired the Police to the “Zero tolerance” on the speed limit, Her little joyride from Waimate to Christchurch at 180 kph. Must count for something (snigger)

  • Second time around

    If the Guardian can be believed, Helen Clark is paying a lot more attention to Ban Ki Moon’s succession plans than she ever did for her own as PM of NZ. Was she not the ex-politician who bequeathed us Phil Goff as her successor?

    • Toothbrush76

      Any positive achievements she may have are very hard to recall but the one thing she didn’t do has lead to the present plight of the Labour Party.
      She didn’t plan for succession so that when she gave up there was a fight to take her place; a fight that has been going on for over six years and shows no sign of ending.

      • JKV

        Maybe we should thank Helen for that. The fact that she left Labour in such a parlous state is to be welcomed is it not? Wouldn’t it be great if she became leader of the UN – a joke corrupt outfit at best – and utterly discredited the deceitful lying outfit. Actually, come to thing of it, it might be good if she headed up that organisation:) The UN – soon to descend (one hopes) into utter irrelevancy.

  • Disinfectant

    Yes I can give you one thing worthy of note which Helen Clark achieved. Working for families. This one piece of legislation has locked New Zealand into an expensive tax-payer time bomb. You would have to be pretty dim not to a have noted this.

  • Doug

    Former prime minister Helen Clark has been hit with a devastating critique of her United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in an official report saying much of its annual US$5.7 billion (NZ$6.8 billion) budget is only remotely connected to ending global poverty.

  • damm good thrashing

    She screwed this country and now she wants the chance to screw the entire world. What an ego tripper.