Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is the 23rd most powerful woman in the world in Forbes magazine's annual list published overnight.

The head of the UN's development programme has slipped two places from last year but remains the only New Zealander on the American business publication's list. It is her 10th appearance.

Watch: Lorde visits Helen Clark at the UN

Watch as Lorde visits Helen Clark at the UN headquarters in New York. Photo courtesy of YouTube/United Nations Development Programme.

New York-based Miss Clark is in charge of a multibillion-dollar budget and a large staff based in more than 150 countries. She took up her current post in 2009 after she was defeated by John Key in the 2008 general election.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list for the eighth time.
US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen is in second spot and philanthropist Melinda Gates is ranked third.

The Queen is ranked number 35.

Miss Clark's ranking has grown in recent years. She was number 50 three years ago and number 61 in 2009.

The top ten:

1. Angela MerkelGerman - Chancellor

2. Janet Yellen - Head of US Federal Reserve

3. Melinda Gates - Philanthropist

4. Dilma Rouseff - Brazil President

5. Christine Lagarde - IMF managing director


6. Hillary Clinton - Former politician

7. Mary Barra - General Motors CEO

8. Michelle Obama - US First Lady

9. Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO

10. Virginia Rometty - IBM CEO