Read the full transcript of the interview

Helen Clark felt rejected after losing the election and took a while to come to terms with it, her husband, Peter Davis, revealed yesterday.

The pair appeared on TVNZ's Q & A show and in response to a question from Paul Holmes about what the former Labour Prime Minister was like in the weeks after the November 8 election loss, Professor Davis gave his insights.

"I think she felt rejected, because she felt she had done a good job - which I also believe - and had put her best foot forward and had been an almost incomparable Prime Minister and yet somehow the public had not seen that the same way," he said.

"So it took some time for her to come to terms with that and if I was in that position, I'd feel the same way, I guess."

After resigning as Labour leader on election night, Helen Clark gave no interviews about the election defeat until last week.

She has been confirmed as head of the United Nations Development Programme, the third most senior role in the UN, and will give her valedictory speech in Parliament on Wednesday.

Professor Davis, whose work commitments mean he will not be able to immediately accompany his wife to her new job in New York, said she had shown her real character.

"In politics you realise that you've got ups and downs, hero to zero etc, and you have to come back all the time and she has - and I think she has shown her true character in that respect," he said as Helen Clark looked on.

Asked if the long-distance marriage would mean they would end up with nothing to say to each other, Helen Clark said "definitely not".

"We've been together since 1977, we have common interests, common hobbies, we do a lot of things together and Peter's own job [as an academic] involves quite a bit of international travel with conferences."

She was sure they would see each other a lot.

Professor Davis also said people were "starting to sell the idea" of New York to him. "It's definitely worth a try."

Helen Clark defended former Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard against critics who suggest she should stand aside and not return to Parliament if offered the chance through a list vacancy.

Ms Tizard is second in line on Labour's list, and could get a chance to re-enter Parliament

if former deputy Michael Cullen quits Parliament before a byelection in Helen Clark's Mt Albert electorate, letting first-in-line Damien O'Connor back in on the list, and if list MP Phil Twyford won the Mt Albert seat, creating a second list vacancy.

Helen Clark is a friend of Judith Tizard and her mother, Dame Catherine Tizard.

Helen Clark said the list process had to have integrity.

"Judith was selected through a process with integrity, she's absolutely entitled to take up that seat if that's what happens."