Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard with Labour’s biggest donor, Owen Glenn, at the opening of a University building Glen paid for.
Helen Clark, the U.N.’s development czar, has emerged as a front-runner in the race for U.N. secretary-general, inspiring international hopes that a powerful woman could lead the world’s preeminent diplomatic organization for the first time. Back home in New Zealand, where Clark served as prime minister from December 1999 to November 2008, the teenage pop star Lorde declared she was “all in” for her “awe-inspiring fellow countrywoman.” Fans produced T-shirts proclaiming, “Aunty Helen for UN Secretary General.”
But many of her own U.N. colleagues are not rooting for her. Clark’s seven-year stewardship of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) has left a trail of embittered peers and subordinates, who accuse Clark of ruthlessly ending the careers of underlings in her quest to advance her candidacy and of undercutting the U.N.’s promotion of human rights. In the most controversial move, Clark’s top managers allegedly drove one UNDP official out of her job in retaliation for participating in an investigation that sharply criticized the agency’s response to mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, according to internal U.N. emails and several current and former U.N.-based officials and diplomats. The offices of the deputy U.N. secretary-general and a top aide to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon lobbied Clark’s office to rescue the UNDP official’s career, but they were unsuccessful.
That’s our Hels. And that’s also why she’s better off with the job at the UN rather than coming back to New Zealand and sorting out the mess she left in her wake. Read more »