Clark an 'acceptable second choice' for UN members

Clark has the support of Prime Minister John Key and the Government (AAP)
Clark has the support of Prime Minister John Key and the Government (AAP)

An expert believes Helen Clark could be the dark horse who wins the race for UN Secretary-General.

In the latest straw poll the number of discourages against her dropped, with one nation moving back to a no-opinion vote.

In a statement, it was revealed that Clark would be having "important conversations" in an attempt to drum up support at the UN General Assembly's high-level week , starting on September 19.

Clark is one of 10 candidates for the job, and has the support of Prime Minister John Key and the Government.

However she faded lower in the pecking order after the latest straw poll, coming in behind two other female candidates - Bulgaria's Irina Bokova in fifth and Argentinian Susana Malcorra in seventh.

Despite the slightly bleak outlook, the University of Otago's Professor of international relations Robert Patman says hope still remains, with the so-called 'Permanent Five' on the UN Security Council - Russia, France, the UK, the US and China - yet to use their vetoes.

He says some of the members are expected to prevent a number of the current frontrunners landing the role.

"What's almost certainly going to happen is that some of the people riding very high at the moment will actually be knocked out of the race because the permanent five will cast their vetoes."

Prof Patman says the former New Zealand prime minister is respected by many at the organisation, and is a good choice for those who don't want to vote for the current leaders.

"I think at the moment she is an acceptable second choice for a number of countries - and if I was to stick my neck out, I'd say she is the second choice for at least three members of the permanent five."

Prof Patman says it's important for Clark to remain in the pool of contenders.