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Helen Clark

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Subject: New Zealand–United States relations, Mike Moore (New Zealand politician), Mount Albert (New Zealand electorate), 2006 in New Zealand, Owairaka (New Zealand electorate)
Collection: 1950 Births, Administrators of the United Nations Development Programme, Deputy Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Female Heads of Government, Leaders of the Opposition (New Zealand), Living People, Members of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Members of the Order of New Zealand, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, Ministers of Housing (New Zealand), New Zealand Agnostics, New Zealand Feminists, New Zealand Labour Party Leaders, New Zealand Labour Party Mps, New Zealand Mps for Auckland Electorates, New Zealand People of Irish Descent, New Zealand Republicans, New Zealand Women in Politics, People Educated at Epsom Girls' Grammar School, People from Hamilton, New Zealand, Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Recipients of the Star of the Solomon Islands, University of Auckland Alumni, Unsuccessful Candidates in the New Zealand General Election, 1975, Women Prime Ministers
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Helen Clark

The Right Honourable
Helen Clark
Clark in 2010.
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Assumed office
17 April 2009
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Preceded by Kemal Derviş
37th Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
5 December 1999 – 19 November 2008
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Michael Hardie Boys
Silvia Cartwright
Anand Satyanand
Deputy Jim Anderton
Michael Cullen
Preceded by Jenny Shipley
Succeeded by John Key
Leader of the Opposition
In office
1 December 1993 – 5 December 1999
Deputy Michael Cullen
Preceded by Mike Moore
Succeeded by Jenny Shipley
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
8 August 1989 – 2 November 1990
Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded by Geoffrey Palmer
Succeeded by Don McKinnon
Minister of Health
In office
30 January 1989 – 2 November 1990
Prime Minister David Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Mike Moore
Preceded by David Caygill
Succeeded by Simon Upton
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mount Albert
In office
28 November 1981 – 17 April 2009[1]
Preceded by Warren Freer
Succeeded by David Shearer
Majority 14,749[2]
Personal details
Born (1950-02-26) 26 February 1950
Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Peter Davis
Children None
Alma mater University of Auckland
Religion None[3]

Helen Elizabeth Clark, ONZ SSI (born 26 February 1950) was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008. She was the first woman elected, at a general election, as the Prime Minister, and was the fifth longest serving person to hold that office.[4] She has been Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the third-highest UN position, since 2009.[5]

Clark graduated from the University of Auckland in 1974 and became politically active in the New Zealand Labour Party as a teenager. While a junior lecturer at the University in the early 1970s, Clark entered local politics in 1974 in Auckland but was not elected to any position. In 1975 she came second for Labour in the rural (and safe National) seat of Piako.

In 1981 she was elected to Parliament for the safe Labour seat of Mount Albert, a position she held until her resignation in 2009. During the 1980s and early 90s, Clark held numerous Cabinet positions in the Fourth Labour government, including Minister of Housing, Minister of Health and Minister of Conservation. She held the position of Deputy Prime Minister for a year.

After Labour's strong showing in the 1993 election, Clark challenged the Labour leadership of Mike Moore and won, becoming the Leader of the Opposition. After failing to win the 1996 election, she led the Labour Party to a sweeping victory in the 1999 election. As Prime Minister of the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand, Clark's government presided over nearly a decade of economic growth, while still maintaining a large government surplus.

Clark's government implemented several major economic initiatives including Kiwibank, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and KiwiSaver. Her government's other major policies included the Working for Families package, increasing the minimum wage 5% a year, interest-free student loans, creation of District Health Boards, the introduction of a number of tax credits, overhauling the secondary school qualifications by introducing NCEA, and the introduction of fourteen weeks’ parental leave.[6] Her government also introduced the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 which caused major controversy and was eventually repealed in 2011.

Clark sent troops to the Afghanistan War, but did not contribute combat troops to the Iraq War although some medical and engineering units were sent. Her agenda reflected the priorities of liberal internationalism, especially the promotion of democracy and human rights; the strengthening of the role of the United Nations; the advancement of antimilitarism and disarmament; and the encouragement of free trade.[7] Clark advocated a number of free trade agreements with major trading partners, including becoming the first developed nation to sign such an agreement with China, and ordered a military deployment to the 2006 East Timorese crisis alongside international partners.

Her government was defeated in the 2008 election and she resigned as Prime Minister and Labour Party leader. She resigned from Parliament in April 2009 from her Mount Albert electorate and was replaced by David Shearer to take up the post of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Forbes magazine ranked her 20th most powerful woman in the world in 2006[8] and 50th in 2012.[9] In 2014, she rose to the 23rd position.[10]


  • Early life 1
  • Member of Parliament 2
    • Cabinet Minister 2.1
    • Leader of the Opposition 2.2
  • Prime Minister 3
    • First term 3.1
    • Second term 3.2
    • Third term 3.3
  • United Nations Development Programme 4
  • Honours 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Clark was the eldest of four daughters of a farming family at Epsom Girls' Grammar School in Auckland and at the University of Auckland, where she majored in politics and graduated with an MA (Honours) in 1974. Her thesis focused on rural political behaviour and representation.[11]

As a teenager Clark became politically active, protesting against the Vietnam War and campaigning against foreign military bases in New Zealand. Clark was brought up as a Presbyterian, attending Sunday school weekly. She has described herself as an agnostic.[12]

In 1971 Clark assisted Labour candidates to the Auckland City Council.[13] Clark was a junior lecturer in political studies at the University of Auckland from 1973 to 1975. In 1974 she sought the nomination for the Auckland Central electorate, but lost to Richard Prebble.[13] She instead stood for the Piako, a National safe seat.[14] Clark studied abroad on a University Grants Committee post-graduate scholarship in 1976, and then lectured in political studies at Auckland again while undertaking her PhD (which she never completed) from 1977 until her election to Parliament in 1981 (her father supported the National Party that election).

She married sociologist Peter Davis, her partner of five years at that time, shortly before that election (under pressure from some members of the New Zealand Labour Party to marry despite her own feelings about marriage – her biography reports that she cried throughout the ceremony, although she attributes that to a headache).[15] Dr Davis currently is a professor in medical sociology and heads the Sociology Department at the University of Auckland.

Clark has worked actively in the New Zealand Labour Party for most of her life. She served as a member of the Party's New Zealand executive from 1978 until September 1988 and again from April 1989. She chaired the University of Auckland Princes Street branch of the Labour Party during her studies, becoming active alongside future Labour Party politicians including Richard Prebble, David Caygill, Margaret Wilson, and Richard Northey. Clark held the positions of president of the Labour Youth Council, executive member of the Party's Auckland Regional Council, secretary of the Labour Women's Council and member of the Policy Council.

She represented the New Zealand Labour Party at the congresses of the Sydney in 1981, and at the Socialist International Party Leaders' Meeting in Sydney in 1991.

Member of Parliament

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1981–1984 40th Mt Albert Labour
1984–1987 41st Mt Albert Labour
1987–1990 42nd Mt Albert Labour
1990–1993 43rd Mt Albert Labour
1993–1996 44th Mt Albert Labour
1996–1999 45th Owairaka 1 Labour
1999–2002 46th Mt Albert 1 Labour
2002–2005 47th Mt Albert 1 Labour
2005–2008 48th Mt Albert 1 Labour
2008–2009 49th Mt Albert 1 Labour

Helen Clark first gained election to the New Zealand House of Representatives in the 1981 general election as one of four women who entered Parliament on that occasion. In winning the Mount Albert electorate in Auckland, she became the second woman elected to represent an Auckland electorate, and the seventeenth woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament. Her first parliamentary intervention, on taking her seat was on 12 April 1982 to give notice, she would move a motion condeming the US Navy's deployment of nuclear cruise missiles in the Pacific [16] Two weeks later in a very powerful maiden speech with unusual emphasis on defence policy and the arms race, she again condemned the deployment of cruise, pershing and SS20 and the global ambitions of both superpowers navies, but claimed the Soviet admirals did not plough New Zealand's waters and expressed particular concern about the expansion of the 1965 memo of ANZUS understanding for the resupply of weapons to NZ to include nuclear weapon resupply [17] At the 2005 general election Clark won 66% of the electorate votes, or 20,918 votes with a 14,749 majority.[2]

During her first term in the House (1981–1984), she became a member of the Statutes Revision Committee. In her second term (1984–1987), she chaired the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Select Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control, both of which combined with the Defence Select Committee in 1985 to form a single committee.

Cabinet Minister

In 1987, Clark became a Cabinet Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, led by David Lange (1984–1989), Geoffrey Palmer (1989–1990) and Mike Moore (1990), first as Minister of Housing and as Minister of Conservation, then as Minister of Health and later as Deputy Prime Minister.

Clark served as Minister of Conservation from August 1987 until January 1989 and as Minister of Housing from August 1987 until August 1989. She became Minister of Health in January 1989 and Minister of Labour and Deputy Prime Minister in August 1989. She chaired the Cabinet Social Equity Committee and became a member of the Cabinet Policy Committee, of the Cabinet Committee on Chief Executives, of the Cabinet Economic Development and Employment Committee, of the Cabinet Expenditure Review Committee, of the Cabinet State Agencies Committee, of the Cabinet Honours Appointments and Travel Committee and of the Cabinet Domestic and External Security Committee.

Leader of the Opposition

From October 1990 until December 1993 Clark held the posts of Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Opposition spokesperson for Health and Labour and member of the Social Services Select Committee and of the Labour Select Committee. After the National Party won the 1993 general election with a majority of one seat, Clark challenged Mike Moore for the leadership of the parliamentary Labour Party and became Leader of the Opposition on 1 December 1993. She led the Opposition during the National-led Governments of Jim Bolger (1990–1997) and Jenny Shipley (1997–1999).

Prime Minister

Official portrait of Helen Clark (2005)

When the New Zealand Labour Party came into office as part of a coalition following the 1999 election, Clark became the second female Prime Minister of New Zealand and the first to have won office at an election. (The previous Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley took office as the result of a mid-term party-leadership challenge.) During her term in office women held a number of prominent elected and appointed offices in New Zealand, such as the Governor-General, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chief Justice.

Clark was Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage from 1999 until 2008. She also had ministerial responsibility for the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service and for Ministerial Services. Her particular interests included social policy and international affairs.

As Prime Minister, Helen Clark was a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilise the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

As Leader of the Labour Party, Clark negotiated the formation of successive minority coalition governments. Even though some commentators saw stable government within the relatively new MMP electoral system as unlikely, Clark's supporters credit her with maintaining three terms of stable MMP government.

First term

The first such coalition (1999–2002) linked the Labour Party with the Alliance Party (1999).

In 2000, Labour MP Chris Carter investigated the background of one of Clark's Cabinet colleagues, Māori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels. During the investigation, Clark referred to John Yelash as a murderer. However, the court system had convicted Yelash of manslaughter. Yelash sued Clark for defamation, resulting in an out-of-court settlement.

Clark with Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon on 26 March 2002.

In 2000, the then Police Commissioner, Peter Doone, resigned after the Sunday Star-Times alleged he had prevented the breath testing of his partner Robyn, who had driven the car they occupied, by telling the officer "that won't be necessary". Both Doone and the officer involved denied this happened. Doone sued the Sunday Star-Times for defamation in 2005 but the paper revealed they had checked the story with Clark. She confirmed this, but denied that she had made attempts to get Doone to resign and defended being the source as "by definition I cannot leak". Helen Clark also responded by saying that National's friends had funded Mr Doone's defamation-suit.[18] Opinion on the significance of this incident varied.[19]

In a report in the People's Daily, Chinese President Jiang Zemin referred to Clark as an "old friend". He hoped to "establish bilateral long-term and stable overall cooperative relations with a healthy development geared to the 21st century", and "broad prospects for bilateral economic cooperation". Clark had strongly supported China's entry into the WTO.[20]

In 1999, Clark was involved in a defamation case in the High Court of New Zealand with Auckland orthopaedic surgeon Joe Brownlee, resulting in Clark making an unreserved apology. The case centered on a press statement issued by Clark criticising Brownlee, triggered by a constituent's complaint over the outcome of a hip replacement. Clark admitted the criticism was unjustified in that the complication suffered by her constituent was rare, unforeseen and unavoidable.[21]

Second term

The Alliance Party split in 2002 over the Government's commitment of New Zealand troops to the War in Afghanistan, leading to the imminent dissolution of Labour's coalition of that party.[22] As a consequence, Clark called an early election and then went into coalition with Jim Anderton's Progressive Party, a spin-off of the Alliance Party (2002, with parliamentary confidence and supply coming from United Future and a "good-faith" agreement with the Green Party).

Clark believes a New Zealand republic is "inevitable",[23] and her term in office saw a number of alleged moves in this direction, under her government's policy of building national identity. Examples include the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council in London and the foundation of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the abolition of titular Knighthood and Damehood honours (restored in 2009), and the abolition of the title "Queen's Counsel" (replaced by "Senior Counsel") (restored in 2012).

In 2002, Clark apologised for aspects of New Zealand's treatment of Samoa during the colonial era.[24] Clark's apology was made in Apia during the 40th anniversary of Samoa's independence and televised live to New Zealand where Samoans applauded the prime minister's gesture.[25]

In March 2003, referring to the U.S. led coalition's actions in the Iraq War, Clark told the newspaper Sunday Star Times that, "I don't think that 11 September under a Gore presidency would have had this consequence for Iraq." She later sent a letter to Washington apologising for any offence that her comment may have caused.[26]

On 17 July 2004, a motorcade involving police, Diplomatic Protection Squad, and Ministerial Services staff reached speeds of up to 172 km/h when taking Clark and Cabinet Minister Jim Sutton from Waimate to Christchurch Airport so she could attend a rugby union match in Wellington.[27] The courts subsequently convicted the drivers involved for driving offences, but appeals resulted in the quashing of these convictions in December 2005 and August 2006.[28] Clark said that she was busy working in the back seat and had no influence or role in the decision to speed and did not realise the speed of her vehicle.[29]

Third term

Helen Clark at the opening of Waikato River Trail at Whakamaru, 2007

In 2005, following the election of that year, the Labour Party and the Progressive Party renewed their coalition, gaining supply-and-confidence support from both New Zealand First and United Future in exchange for giving the leaders of those parties ministerial positions outside Cabinet.

On 24 July 2008, Clark passed Sir Robert Muldoon to become New Zealand's sixth-longest-serving Prime Minister, and on 27 October 2008 she passed Edward Stafford's combined terms to become the 5th longest-serving Prime Minister.

On 8 February 2008, Clark became the longest serving leader of the Labour Party in its history (although some dispute exists over when the party's first and therefore the first male leader Harry Holland became leader), having served for 14 years, 69 days,[30][i] by 26 October 2008 she had passed Holland's longest possible term and her position as longest serving Labour Party leader was put beyond doubt. Clark conceded defeat following the 2008 general election to John Key and announced that she was standing down as Labour Party leader.[31] On 11 November 2008 Clark was replaced by Phil Goff as leader of the Labour Party.[32]

Clark also became the first defeated Labour Prime Minister to immediately resign the party leadership rather than lead it in Opposition.

In 2006, Forbes ranked Clark 20th of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women"[8] and then at 56th in 2008.[33]

Mid term, Clark signed a painting for a charity-auction that someone else had painted. Opposition politicians referred the matter to the

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Warren Freer
Member of Parliament for Mount Albert
Succeeded by
David Shearer
Party political offices
Preceded by
Geoffrey Palmer
Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
Succeeded by
David Caygill
Preceded by
Mike Moore
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Jenny Shipley
Leader of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Phil Goff
Political offices
Preceded by
David Caygill
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Simon Upton
Preceded by
Geoffrey Palmer
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Don McKinnon
Preceded by
Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Succeeded by
John Key
New ministerial post Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
Succeeded by
Chris Finlayson
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Kemal Derviş
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
  • Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
  • Brief biography on the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage's "History online" website
  • Rt Hon Helen Clark the archived biography page for former member of Parliament, Rt Hon Helen Clark, New Zealand Parliament website

External links

Helen Clark is profiled in a chapter entitled: " Helen Clark: first elected woman prime minister."
  • Boston, Jonathan. Left Turn: The New Zealand general election of 1999 (Victoria U.P, 2000)
  • Boston, Jonathan , et al. (2004). New Zealand Votes: The 2002 General Election. Victoria University Press. 
  • Edwards, Brian (2001). Helen: Portrait of A Prime Minister. Auckland, [N.Z.]: Exisle Publishing.  
  • Kerr, Allan R. (c. 2006). Helen Clark: Prime Minister of New Zealand (3rd ed.). Masterton, [N.Z.]: Capital Letters Pub.  ; This is a book intended for children.
  • Levine, Stephen and Nigel S. Roberts, eds. The Baubles of Office: The New Zealand General Election of 2005 (Victoria U.P, 2007)
  • Levine, Stephen and Nigel S. Roberts, eds. Key to Victory: The New Zealand General Election of 2008 (Victoria U.P, 2010)
  • Miller, Raymond; Mintrom, Michael (eds.) (c. 2006). Political leadership in New Zealand. Auckland, [N.Z.]: Auckland University Press.  
  • Skard, Torild. "Helen Clark" in Women of Power - Half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, Bristol: Policy Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0
  • Welch, Denis. Helen Clark: A Political Life (2009) - 240 pages
  • Williams, Tony (2006). 101 ingenious Kiwis: how New Zealanders changed the world. Auckland, [N.Z.]: Reed.  

Further reading

  1. ^ Young, Audrey (18 April 2009). "Haere ra Helen and Heather". The New Zealand Herald. 
  2. ^ a b "Official Count Results -- Mt Albert". New Zealand Ministry of Justice, Chief Electoral Office. 10 October 2005. Archived from the original on 31 July 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Helen Clark". New Zealand history online. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Crewdson, Patrick (27 March 2009). "Clark gets UN job". The Dominion Post. Fairfax Media NZ Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ David McCraw, "New Zealand Foreign Policy Under the Clark Government: High Tide of Liberal Internationalism?," Pacific Affairs (2005) 78#2 pp 217-235 in JSTOR
  8. ^ a b "Helen Clark, The Most Powerful Women". Forbes. 2006. Retrieved 12 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. LLC. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "New Zealand Executive - Helen Clark". Retrieved 30 June 2006. 
  12. ^ Audrey Young (16 March 2004). "Insults get personal between Clark and Brash".  
  13. ^ a b Richard Wolfe, Battlers Bluffers & Bully Boys, Random House New Zealand,  
  14. ^ "Helen Clark's Valedictory Speech".  
  15. ^ Edwards, Brian (2001). "Campaign '81". Helen, Portrait of a Prime Minister. pp. 144–150.  
  16. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates (NZPD) 12-4-82, p443
  17. ^ New Zealand Parliamentary Debates 27-4-82, p 560-4.
  18. ^ Young, Audrey (11 May 2005). "PM confirmed story, says editor". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Mixed media: The PM'S slow leak". The New Zealand Herald. 14 May 2005. Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  20. ^ "President Jiang Meets New Zealand PM". People's Daily. 21 April 2001. Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  21. ^ "Clark says "sorry" to surgeon". 26 October 1999. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  22. ^ "Anderton confirms Alliance changes".  
  23. ^ a b BBC News (23 February 2002). "NZ premier denies royal snub". British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Full text: Helen Clark's apology to Samoa", 2002, NZ Herald
  25. ^ Ward, Greg (4 June 2002). "Apology to Samoa surprises New Zealand". BBC News. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  26. ^ "Questions for Oral Answer, Wednesday, 9 April 2003". Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  27. ^ "PM's Motorcade - Waimate to Christchurch Saturday 17 July 2004". New Zealand Police. 20 July 2004. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  28. ^ Newstalk ZB, NZPA (31 August 2006). "Motorcade police officers' convictions quashed". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 August 2006. 
  29. ^ Brooker, Jarrod (6 August 2005). "PM 'enjoyed' convoy ride". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  30. ^ Audrey Young (12 February 2008). "Clark beats record of longest-serving Labour leader - probably".  
  31. ^ "Helen Clark steps down after Labour's loss in NZ election". The New Zealand Herald. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  32. ^  
  33. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women sorted by Rank". Forbes. 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  34. ^ "PM's painting scandal". TVNZ. 14 April 2002. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  35. ^ "Research Note no.9 2002-03". Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  36. ^ "United Nations Development Programme - Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator". UNDP. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  37. ^ "Helen Clark sworn in as UNDP Administrator". UNDP. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  38. ^ "Editorial: Clark needs to be diplomatic but forceful". The New Zealand Herald. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  39. ^ "Govt supports Helen Clark for United Nations role". New Zealand Government. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  40. ^ "General Assembly confirms Helen Clark as new UN development chief". United Nations. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  41. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  42. ^ "Helen Clark returns to Parliament".  
  43. ^ "Helen Clark reappointed for UN role".  
  44. ^ "Helen Clark on Forbes list".  
  45. ^ "The world's most powerful women". 3 News NZ. 27 May 2013. 
  46. ^ Martinson, Jane (27 January 2014). "Will Helen Clark be the first woman to run the UN?". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  47. ^ Trevett, Claire (29 January 2014). "Govt will back Clark if she wants top UN job: Key". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  48. ^ Website of the NZ government: PM awarded the Star of the Solomon Islands. Retrieved 24 September 2006
  49. ^ Medals of the World - Solomon Islands: Star of the Solomon Islands. Retrieved 24 September 2006
  50. ^ [2]
  51. ^ "Prime Minister honoured by UN environment award".  
  52. ^ "Honorary Members". The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. 
  53. ^ Jessup, Peter (12 October 2002). "Kiwi players let their hair down at Clark bash". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  54. ^ NZRL Annual Meeting - New Patron Appointed, 29 March 2011
  55. ^ Tapaleao, Vaimoana (24 January 2009). "Admired Helen Clark can hold her head high".  
  56. ^ "Helen Clark awarded honorary doctorate". Radio New Zealand. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  57. ^ "New Year Honours 2010" (29 January 2010) 6 New Zealand Gazette 239.
  58. ^ "Top award takes Clark by surprise". The New Zealand Herald. 31 December 2009. 
  59. ^ "New Year Honours List 2010". Honours List. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of New Zealand. 31 December 2009. 


^i :No recent Prime Minister of New Zealand has lasted more than three terms in office, or their party as government. Keith Holyoake (1957: 1960–1972) was the last to do so, and William Massey (1912–1925) and Richard Seddon (1893–1906) served four terms each, and both died one year after their final election victories.


See also

In 1996, Clark guest starred as herself in popular New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. A satirical book, later adapted as a play, titled On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover by Richard Meros was published by Lawrence and Gibson in 2005. Clark has also guest-starred on bro'Town, the New Zealand animated television series.

In popular culture

In the New Year Honours 2010 Clark was appointed to the Order of New Zealand for services to New Zealand.[57][58][59]

In April 2009 she was awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degree by University of Auckland.[56]

In January 2009, two months after losing office, Clark was voted Greatest Living New Zealander in an opt-in website poll run by the New Zealand Herald. In a close race she received 25 percent of the vote, ahead of Victoria Cross recipient Willie Apiata at 21 percent. Current Prime Minister John Key said he was not surprised by the poll, saying "... she is well thought of as a New Zealand Prime Minister."[55]

Clark was the patron of the New Zealand Rugby League between 2002 and 2011 and has served as the patron of the Mt Albert Lions rugby league club for over 20 years.[53][54]

Clark is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.[52]

In January 2008 Clark won the United Nations Environment Programme Champions of the Earth award in recognition of the government’s promotion of sustainability initiatives.[51]

The government of the Solomon Islands awarded Clark (together with John Howard) the Star of the Solomon Islands in 2005 in recognition of New Zealand's role in restoring law and order in the Solomon Islands.[48] This award allows her to use the post-nominal letters "SSI".[49]


In January 2014, a Guardian interview with Clark raised the possibility that she could take over as UN Secretary-General after Ban Ki-moon's retirement in 2016. She did not confirm her interest, but commented: "There will be interest in whether the UN will have a first woman because they're looking like the last bastions, as it were." She also said in the same interview that: "If there's enough support for the style of leadership that I have, it will be interesting."[46] In response, Prime Minister John Key said the New Zealand Government would support a bid, but cautioned that it would be a tough task to get the job.[47]

In 2013, Forbes upgraded her position to 21st most powerful woman in the world after she was appointed head UNDP for a second term and her potential future as UN Secretary General.[43][44] She was the only New Zealander to make the list.[45] As of 2014, she is listed at #23.[10]

In an interview with New Zealand news agency 3 News on 5 March 2012, she confirmed she would be seeking another four year term as Administrator of the UNDP.[42]

In this position, Forbes deemed her the 23rd most powerful woman in the world.[41]

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.[36] The current government of New Zealand strongly supported her nomination, along with Australia, the Pacific Island nations and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown. She also received the support of the five countries on the bureau of the UNDP board (Iran, Haiti, Serbia, The Netherlands and Tanzania) and was unanimously confirmed by the General Assembly on 31 March. She was sworn in by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 27 April 2009.[37][38][39][40]

United Nations Development Programme


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