Friends and rivals urge Clark to stay in UN race

Friends and rivals urge Clark to stay in UN race

Former naysayers and political rivals are urging Helen Clark to stay in the race for the United Nations' top job, despite her bleak prospects.

Ms Clark finished middle of the pack at the second straw poll in early August, with more members of the Security Council voting to 'discourage' the former New Zealand Prime Minister than 'encourage' her to stay in the running.

Labour deputy leader Annette King says Ms Clark should stick it out regardless.

"There've been others that told her shouldn't win and she went on to prove them wrong - and I was one of them," she told Paul Henry on Friday.

Ms King tried to talk Ms Clark into stepping down as Labour leader in 1996, following dismal poll ratings. Ms Clark of course went on to win the 1999 election and serve three terms as Prime Minister.

National MP Paula Bennett entered Parliament during Ms Clark's third term. She says if Ms Clark doesn't win, it'll be because the Security Council members are afraid she'll shake things up too much.

"You just know it from her past - she's a strong woman who knows what she wants and cares about this stuff, so I just don't think they're up for that."

Ms Bennett wouldn't say what she thought Ms Clark's chances were. Ms King put them - perhaps optimistically - at "50-50".

"I think she should stay because the Security Council are notorious for not agreeing - she could be the one that comes through the middle."