Helen Clark

Helen seeking new trough to swill in

One thing about ex-politicians is that they know how to sniff out a nice new trough:

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is in the running for another high-profile aid job based in Geneva, according to reports.

The New York Times has reported that Clark is on a three-person shortlist for director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.    Read more »

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Little really doesn’t want Helen back here, does he?

With the news that Helen Clark is jacking it in at the end of her term at the UNDP the media have started all sorts of speculation.

The most ridiculous is that John Key ran and hid when he found out Helen was quitting because he lost so badly to her in 2008…oh wait.

But Andrew Little isn’t exactly welcoming her back with open arms either.

Little, who last spoke with Clark shortly before the final ballot in the secretary-general race, said she had “a lot more to contribute” when she left the UN.

“She will carve out a role for herself in her next phase, whatever that is.”

Just so long as it isn’t here, eh Andy?   Read more »

Helen Clark is coming back. What work will the Devil make for idle hands?

Audrey Young: Helen Clark will leave post knowing she made a difference, with UNDP in better shape than when she started

Helen Clark may not have fulfilled all her ambitions in her eight years at the United Nations Development Programme.

But when she leaves her post in April it will be with the satisfaction of knowing she made a difference and that she leaves it a better place than when she started.

It was not unexpected. She will have completed two four-year terms in April by the time she goes.

She dragged the UNDP into the 21st century.

The old tuskers in the media are responding like Pavlov’s dogs at the thought of Her Majesty returning to our shores.

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Trotter explains why Labour has problems next year

Chris Trotter, the ever observant student of modern political history points out why Bill English may be boring but why he may also squeak into power again despite the ear to ear grins of the Labour party.

“WITH FIFTY-ONE PERCENT SUPPORT in the latest CM Research poll, the Labour Party is cruising towards the Year’s end on an enormous wave of public support. What is the secret behind Labour’s winning political formula – a formula which has so far eluded all of its competitors? To hear Helen Clark, or Michael Cullen, or Steve Maharey tell it, the story of Labour’s success is a simple one: “Under-promise and over-deliver”.

According to this theory, New Zealanders no longer believe in big promises – so don’t make any. Nor do they expect “the gummint” to do very much of anything to help them out. So, keeping those small promises, and, even more astonishing, actually doing a little bit more than you promised, leaves the voters feeling pathetically grateful.

More cynical observers point to Labour’s utter infatuation with opinion polling and focus groups. Its apparatus for taking the public pulse is state-of-the-art, and provides the political leadership with more-or-less instant feedback. Knowing how the electorate is responding to Government policy allows Clark and her ministers to remain in lock-step with public opinion. As the French revolutionary, Danton, is supposed to have remarked, seeing a throng of Parisians passing below his host’s window: “Excuse me, I am their leader – I must follow them.”   Read more »

Trotter on Bill English and Paula Bennett…it’s not what you think

Chris Trotter has an interest piece on The Daily Bog about Bill English and Paula Bennett…and it is brilliant:

Those high-drama, high-risk moments in a nation’s history, when the political adrenalin is coursing through the body politic, are precisely the moments when rushing to any sort of judgement – let alone action – is the worst possible thing politicians, journalists and political activists can do.

John Key’s resignation, for example, was just such a moment of high political drama and risk. People got excited. Adrenalin flowed. Our collective judgement was shot. All sorts of stupid mistakes – and statements – were made, and all sorts of silly stories were published and posted. What the country needed was someone to drive it around for a while and give it a chance to decompress.

Because Bill English is not some sort of Jesuit torturer just aching to draw blood with his newly acquired political instruments. Nor is Paula Bennet a whip-wielding Westie dominatrix in spiked heels and a leopard-skin corset. These two human-beings are nothing more, nor less, than National Party politicians – and by no means the worst of their breed.   Read more »

The Nasty Party is back

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It must be coming up to election time again because the Nasty party is out in force.

Annette King seems to be leading it this year.

David Farrar writes:

And Labour wonder why they keep losing elections and their vote share is at a 90 year low.  Read more »

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

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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 »