Setting aside personal and political

April 5, 2016

Prime Minister John Key has announced that the government is nominating Helen Clark for the top bureaucratic job in the world – United Nations secretary-general:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the New Zealand Government is nominating Helen Clark for the position of the United Nations Secretary-General.

“Having served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand for nine years and held one of the top jobs in the United Nations for the past seven, Helen Clark has the right mix of skills and experience for the job,” says Mr Key.

“There are major global challenges facing the world today and the United Nations needs a proven leader who can be pragmatic and effective.

“Coming from New Zealand, Helen Clark is well placed to bridge divisions and get results. She is the best person for the job.”

Helen Clark was the Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008 and has worked as the Administrator of the UN Development Programme for the past seven years.

“Helen Clark has a vast amount of experience in international affairs which will be hard for other candidates to match. She’s a great listener and communicator, and I know she will make a difference if elected.” . . .

There was no love lost between the former and current PM when they were political rivals.

But since she first announced her intention to seek a job in the UN he has backed her and both have put any political and personal differences aside.

The UN is good in theory but often fails to live up to its promise in practice.

The Development Programme (UNDP)’s official report, which Clark led, said much of its annual US$5.7 billion (NZ$6.8 billion) budget is only remotely connected to ending global poverty.

Whether or not the criticism is fair, it highlights the size of the challenge facing the UN and its agencies.

It and they are far from perfect.

But in spite of its failings and inadequacies, there are benefits in having the 193 member states together attempting to find solutions to many, often long-standing, problems.

And there could be benefits for New Zealand to have a New Zealander heading it.

That’s why personal and political differences should be set aside to help the former PM get the post.

I disagree with a lot of her political views but I think she is well qualified for the position of Secretary-General.

 


Can’t afford to go from institution with failings to failed institution

October 2, 2015

Prime Minister John Key focused on a call for action in Syria and other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in his address to  the UN General Assembly.

The Prime Minister said the UN was the only organisation capable of focusing the world’s attention on the most pressing issues and finding ways to resolve them.

This was the reason New Zealand had fought so hard for a seat on the UN Security Council but Mr Key said real action was too often blocked by internal divisions.

“We cannot afford to let the Council go from an institution with failings to a failed institution,” Mr Key said.

While acknowledging the recent success of the Council in some areas such as the Iran deal, he also criticised some of its working methods, including the use of the veto by the five Permanent Members, saying it too often led to inaction.

Mr Key stressed the importance of Council action on the Syrian conflict.

“More than 160 leaders have shown up in New York this week to mark the enduring importance of the United Nations over the past 70 years,” Mr Key said.

“Yet we do so against the backdrop of the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

“It’s time for the Council to do its duty to those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, and for the millions who have been displaced.”

Mr Key pointed to the long list of other conflicts around the globe including in Yemen and South Sudan, and to the stalled Middle East Peace Process as other areas where the Council needed to lead.

New Zealand would continue to play an active role to try and address such issues for the duration of its time on the Council.

The Prime Minister also praised the adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the agreement to better protect the world’s oceans and fisheries.

The full speech is here.


Political story of the day

June 19, 2014

The round-up of political stories while Politics Daily is taking a break seemed  like a good idea but it was taking too much time.

Instead, I’ll feature a political story of the day and welcome you to add others.

My pick won’t necessarily be the most important one, and today’s isn’t:

Politics. It just IS cricket: Sports diplomacy at the UN – Audrey Young:

The United Nations hasn’t seen so much fun in ages.

The Palestinian chief diplomat at the UN tried out his first game of cricket.

The Prime Minister told risqué jokes about his wife.

And Foreign Minister Murray McCully was stumped, possibly for the first time in his life.

Cricketing legend Sir Richard Hadlee was the draw card on the East Lawn of the United Nations at an event to promote the Cricket World Cup next year jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia, starting February 14. . .

Make cricket, not war?


Be happy by order

July 1, 2012

The United Nations has decreed that March 20th will be the International Day of Happiness.

When you can have a whole Year of the Potato a single day for happiness is a modest request and a worthy aim.

But it would be more than a little sad if you happen to have one of those days that day – not just a bad day for you but a blot on the canvas of international happiness .


Failed policies of noughties didn’t help children

January 21, 2011

The United Nation’s report on the state of children in New Zealand says they – the children – don’t have enough rights.

On the contrary, the problem isn’t a lack of rights for children but a lack of responsibility from some parents.

This was alluded to by Children’s Commissioner, John Angus, who told Breakfast (not yet on line) that one of the best things for children would be getting their parents off benefits and into paid work.

This is not an attack on the people who require temporary assistance. It is an indictment on those long term beneficiaries who expect hand outs without taking any responsibility in return, the one’s Macdoctor describes as the sub-culture of feral parents.

The hand wringers say the problem is that children are marginalised, they don’t have a voice and they can’t vote.

Tosh.

Their parents, grandparents, teachers, health professionals and anyone else charged with caring and protecting them have loud voices and they all vote.

We also have a Families Commission and if the report does anything good it will be to show that the commission is a waste of money.

Even if it doesn’t do that, the report is an indictment on the failed policies of the noughties – the ones which bought votes by giving money to people in want rather than in genuine need.

These high tax and redistribute policies didn’t help children. They saddled them with a legacy of debt which is constraining the economy and will reduce opportunities for them as they grow up.


Quote of the week – 7/7 at WTO

April 17, 2010

It’s best to forgive them, for they know not what they do – the assortment of anarchists, communists, warmists, “truthers”, drug dealers, arms peddlers, “peace activists” and other freaks who travel about the world beating their bongo-drums, performing second-rate capoerira, smashing up McDonalds, burning police cars and terrorising the locals while protesting against globalisation and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

So stuck in a zero-sum mentality are they that they can’t grasp basic concepts of gains from trade.

Nor can they grasp that the WTO is the most democratic multilateral institution in history – far more than the corrupt and dysfunctional UN, so beloved by the left. Everything must be agreed by every member – from China and the US to Lesotho and the Solomon Islands – before anything is agreed.

It’s beyond the radicals’ understanding too, that for the last few thousand years, up until living memory, trade disputes between tribes and states were settled with war.

Now for the first time in history, they’re settled in what amount to international courts in Geneva, with both sides agreeing to be bound.

Today the product with the least adequate coverage under WTO rules is petroleum.

The rioters should ask themselves if that might be one of the reasons that product continues to be a major cause of international instability…

That’s a very long quote but it comes from Matthew Hooton in the print edition of the NBR which isn’t available online.

The remaining two thirds of the column is worth reading too.

In it he reminds us that MFAT has a perfect record at the WTO – seven wins from seven cases. He also gives other examples of small countries which have taken on big powers and won.

The column leads me to one question, however: why, when our trade negotiators have been so successful did the people who negoitated New Zealand”s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol serve us so poorly?


January 10 in history

January 10, 2010

On January 10:

49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war.

1776 Thomas Paine published Common Sense.

Oil painting by Auguste Millière 

1806  Dutch settlers in Cape Town surrender to the British.

1810 The marriage of Napoleon and Josephine was annulled.

Joséphine kneels before Napoléon during his coronation at Notre Dame.

1815 Sir John Alexander Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1834 Lord Acton, British historian, was born.

1838 French Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier, a priest and brother of the Society of Mary, arrived at Hokianga.

Catholic missionaries arrive at Hokianga

1863 The London Underground, the world’s oldest underground railway, opened between London Paddington station and Farringdon station.

1901  The first great Texas oil gusher was discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.

1903 Barbara Hepworth, English sculptor, was born.

 

 

 Hepworth’s Family of Man in bronze, 1970

 1908 Bernard Lee, English actor

Lee as M in The Man with the Golden Gun.

1920 The League of Nations held its first meeting and ratified the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I.

1922  Arthur Griffith was elected President of the Irish Free State.

1930  Roy Edward Disney, American film executive, was born.

1936 Burnum Burnum, Australian activist, actor and author, was born.

1945 Rod Stewart, Scottish singer, was born.

1946 The first General Assembly of the United Nations opened in London. Fifty-one nations were represented.

1948 Donald Fagen, American musician (Steely Dan), was born.

1949 George Foreman, American boxer, was born.

George Foreman signing.jpg

1959  Fran Walsh, New Zealand screenwriter, was born.

1962  NASA announced plans to build the C-5 rocket booster. It became better known as the Saturn V moon rocket, which launched every Apollo moon mission.

The first Saturn V, AS-501, before the launch of Apollo 4

1972 – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to the newly independent Bangladesh as president after spending over nine months in prison in Pakistan.

1974 Jemaine Clement, New Zealand actor, was born.

1984 – The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations.

1990  Time Warner was formed from the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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