Seat on Security Council will demand greater representation

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says going for a seat on the United Nations Security Council is part of the responsibility of membership of the UN for countries like New Zealand.

She also indicated that it might be a year away before she gives any indication of whether she'll run to succeed Ban Ki Moon as UN Secretary-General.

When she was Prime Minister, she initiated New Zealand's bid to join the Security Council for 2015 and 2016.

The vote for two seats is in October and New Zealand is up against Turkey and Spain.


She said it was a big commitment for any country to make because it required beefing up representation in New York to cover the extra work required of Security Council members.

"It is one of the things that goes with membership if you have the capacity and wherewithal to do the work," she said.

"It goes with being a member that you should carry your weight from time to time as appropriate. Bigger countries will seek the position more often."

Prime Minister John Key arrived in New York yesterday to step up campaigning for the October vote.

He is to call on Helen Clark this morning.

After starting the day at the September 11 memorial, Mr Key's programme focuses on large groupings: the African Union, the biggest grouping in the UN; the Organisation of the Islamic Conference; and a group of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Mr Key has said he would strongly back Helen Clark as the first woman to become UN Secretary-General if she puts up her hand.

But she told the Herald now was not the time to be considering who will replace Ban "and maybe not even for another year. The current Secretary-General ... is in the middle of the middle year of his second term so the time is not now".

Helen Clark travels extensively in her job as head of the UN Development Programme running programmes in 177 countries.

"We probably don't reflect on how important peace and stability has been for New Zealand," she said.

"Working in the countries UNDP works in now, you see how civil war and conflict just rips people apart..."

She said New Zealand's well-deserved reputation for high levels of transparency and anti-corruption was vital.

"Being at peace, being recognised for high levels of transparency and anti-corruption measures, having a firm rule of law, having a public administration which is non-political and expert, these are pretty precious things ... that we take for granted," she said.

Helen Clark

• Elected to Parliament as the MP for Mt Albert in 1981

• Served three terms as Prime Minister between 1999-2008

• Has headed the United Nations Development Programme since 2009

• Considering a bid to be the UN Secretary-General from 2016

Helen Clark's New York

Helen Clark appointed herself Minister of Arts and Culture when she was Prime Minister and she has plenty to see as a resident of one of the culture capitals of the world, New York.

Her top picks are:

Stars Kenneth Branagh and is staged at the Park Avenue Armoury, an old army drill hall. The stage itself is a muddy trench between two tall grandstands, and features plenty of fighting.

"It's a very, very dramatic Macbeth. Actually it's the most brilliant Macbeth I have ever seen," Helen Clark says.

All the Way
Starring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson, this is Helen Clark's top Broadway choice.

"It's actually to me very similar to the Lincoln movie because Lincoln and Johnson were very good at working with Congress to get through legislation that was very difficult.

"Lincoln got the anti-slavery law through and John got the 1964 Civil Rights Bill through.

"An absolutely incredible play."