Race for the UN: Helen Clark prepares for televised grilling

  • 13/07/2016
Helen Clark (Getty)
Helen Clark (Getty)

New Zealanders will be able to watch former Prime Minister Helen Clark being grilled by those deciding whether she will get the United Nations' top job.

The televised question and answer session for all 12 candidates in the running for the secretary-general role will be broadcast live on Al Jazeera, both on TV and online.

Ms Clark says her Q&A will take place between 11.45am and 1pm on Wednesday (NZT).

Al Jazeera says it will be the first time the UN has held a live debate, which is in contrast to previous appointments which have largely not involved the public.

Questions to the candidates will come from representatives of the UN member states.

Ms Clark launched her bid in April, and has the backing of Prime Minister John Key.

"In the past, UN Secretaries-General have been chosen behind closed doors. This time, we want to ensure all UN member states and the entire world have a chance to know who the candidates are, what their vision is and see how they perform," said the President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft.

The UN's General Assembly hall holds 1900 people, and is expected to be packed out with ambassadors, diplomats, UN staff, journalists and business and civil leaders.

Mr Key recently discussed the matter with outgoing UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The permanent five on the UN Security Council, of which the UK is a member, always keeps their vote secret. However, Mr Key said he'd got a good impression from Mr Cameron about their support for her.