Barry Soper: It's the bigger job Helen Clark is clearly after

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It wasn't just the body language, it was the language itself that said it all. If there's even a remote possibility of Helen Clark slipping into the United Nations Secretary General's high backed leather chair overlooking the impressive East River in the Big Apple she'd be into it like a Queensland fruit fly.

The move from her current UN office in the sparkling Trump Tower, yeah the one owned by The Don, would be simple enough. A couple of filing cabinet trolleys, would do the trick, for the shift across the road.

Clark was at Parliament yesterday performing a task that goes to show she can turn her hand to anything in the interests of tolerance, understanding and diplomacy. For an agnostic she did a sterling job of opening the Religious Diversity Centre of which she's agreed to become a patron.

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Helen Clark remains tight lipped about UN Secretary General plans

But it's the bigger job she's clearly after, in fact the most powerful diplomatic posting on the planet, even if in reality it's impotent in the face the big players who've shown they happy to ignore the advice of the Big Kahuna. Think of Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq to save us all from the weapons of mass distraction.

Just like old times Clark appeared in front of a media scrum and with a smile said she's got nothing to announce right now, with an upward inflection on the now.

Well maybe not now, but for the top job candidates there will be formal interaction with General Assembly members in a couple of week's time which presumably means an announcement from her is imminent.

She's certainly got the devoted support of her successor and texting buddy John Key, who's on record as saying he'd lobby every leader of every country he knew to help her, and given the dressing gown diplomacy he displayed at the last APEC summit, that's most of them.

And the globe trotting, glad handing we did to secure our seat on the UN Security Council, would also have put this blip on their radar screen. The council will make the final decision and the fact that we're on it won't do Clark any harm, even if the former Aussie PM Kevin Rudd puts up his hand.

His CV, collapsing the Labour Party a couple of years into his dysfunctional leadership, wouldn't do much for his candidacy over Clark who fought off a leadership attempt, united her party and led if for nine years in Government.

There may be others ahead of her in the queue, particularly from Eastern Europe, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the UN top job.

In the end it'll be a bit like the conclave at the Vatican choosing the Pope, although if it's Helen there won't be a puff of smoke, it'll be vapour!

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZME.

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