You would have thought he was stating the bleedingly obvious by saying it's time a woman was at the centre of the world's diplomatic stage.

It took him several months to publicly declare himself, but then that's a reflection of the pace with which the United Nations moves, so it should come as no surprise that Ban Ki Moon's not a sprinter.

John Key was quick to endorse the Secretary General's views, even if he was 20 years out, in saying it was time a woman headed an organisation founded way back in 1965!

But Key was right in one thing, the fact that Ban has declared a preference won't make too much difference for Helen Clark who's one of five women vying for the top job even though the straw polls puts several men at the head of the queue.

Advertisement

If a male is elected to the job it'd be a great pity. Under their leadership the United Nations has become largely irrelevant as a body that the powerful take much notice of. The most recent and catastrophic example is the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, backed by the British, on the fabricated contention that we were staring down the barrel of weapons of mass destruction.

The UN refused to back it without hard and fast evidence but it made no difference anyway.

Maybe a woman UN leader wouldn't have made any difference in that case but at least the five contenders for the job have talked about reforming the great, amorphous body which is long overdue.

One of the only ways Clark could make it through the field though is to get the support of one of the inner circle known as the P5, or the five countries that sit permanently on the Security Council and have the final say over everyone else.

The Chinese have said they like her, the Brits before Brexit seemed friendly enough at the prospect, the French have already backed the frontrunner, the former Portuguese Prime Minister, The Russians will always keep their position under their ushankas and the Americans haven't yet taken a formal position.

Even though Vice President Joe Biden said when he was here that he thought Helen Clark was John Key's sister, such was the Prime Minister's enthusiasm for her, he wouldn't go as far as to endorse her. Being one of the leading proponents of the Lange Government's anti nuclear stance, that former rock on the road could still be an irritant pebble in the President's shoe.

Helen Clark will be hoping Hillary Clinton was right when she once said Miss Clark's opponents observed the only thing that'd emerge from a nuclear war would be cockroaches and Helen Clark!