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‘Refugees have repaid the hospitality of my country thousands of times over’: Clark lauds NZ in strong UN pitch


Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has dominated today’s UN leadership candidates debate, outlining a clear vision on what her tenure as Secetary General could like.

Ms Clark addressed several topics, including immigration and international security, during her pitch for the United Nations’ top job this afternoon.

Ten of the 12 candidates in the running to be the next UN secretary-general took part in a “global town hall” debate, which was broadcast by Al Jazeera live on TV and online.

It’s the first time those vying for the UN’s top job have taken part in such an event, with the appointment process usually happening behind closed doors.

In her opening statement, Miss Clark said the UN was falling short when it comes to maintaining peace and security.

“We have to get better at preventing conflict and resolving conflict,” she said.

“I believe that the long term answers lie in building the peaceful and inclusive societies which will talk their differences out and not fight them out.

“But in the short term we have to get a lot better at anticipating those warning signs of what could spill over into serious human rights abuses and conflict.”

I speak as someone who has seen the acceptance of refugees into my own country and I would say, without reservation, that those refugees have repaid the hospitality of my country thousands of times over”
Helen Clark

Miss Clark also slapped down the UN’s geographical rotation principle, which tends to guide the appointment of the secretary-general.

“My country belongs to a grouping for electoral purposes at the UN called western Europe and others group,” she said.

“I’m from the others and sometimes I think WEOG should stand for western European and orphans, because my little country is from the South Pacific and it’s never had a secretary-general either.

“I really think that when we look at


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