Barry Soper: Has John Key's advocacy helped Helen Clark win the votes?

Prime Minister John Key with UNDP chief Helen Clark at the United Nations Assembly in New York. Photo / Audrey Young
Prime Minister John Key with UNDP chief Helen Clark at the United Nations Assembly in New York. Photo / Audrey Young

Politics throws up some strange bedfellows and that's certainly the case with Helen Clark and the man who prevented her from securing a fourth term in office, John Key.

Key's advocacy for Clark to become the next United Nations Secretary General moved up a notch last week when he was singing her praises in New York before the General Assembly, saying that of all the candidates only Clark can keep the organisation relevant.

She gets things done, he insisted, telling leaders this isn't a time for a business as usual appointment. It's time for someone who can ensure the UN's responsive.

So keen is Key for Clark to get the job that American Vice President Joe Biden remarked when he was here a few months back that he thought Clark must have been his sister, such was his enthusiasm.

If ever there was an example that this 70-year-old organisation needs change it was the way the Security Council dealt with the Syrian crisis, or more correctly, didn't deal with it.

A lot of insults were traded as each side accused the other of breaching the ceasefire, which took months to negotiate but just hours to unravel.

The pain, suffering and displacement of millions in Syria continues as the suits from the United States and al-Assad regime supporters Russia argued the toss over who blinked first. The war's thought to have killed around half a million people so far.

They couldn't even agree to lay down their arms for just one week so that aid could reach the besieged parts of the country. The al-Assad Government blocked aid deliveries and stripped essential medical supplies from the few that got across the front lines.

John Key was right in one thing after getting the Security Council to at least address the issue, Syria has become the by-word for failure, failure to do what has to be done to end the bloody five year conflict.

Over the next 24 hours the Council will conduct another straw poll over who will sit in the Secretary General's chair. Clark's hoping the bickering among the five countries holding the power of veto will fail to get agreement, with one cancelling the other out, and she'll come through as the compromise candidate.

It's certainly a long shot but this organisation, more than ever, needs reform and one can only hope whoever get to sit in the chair can achieve it, but don't hold your breath.

- NZ Herald

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