NZ back as UN Security Council chair

NZ back as UN Security Council chair

New Zealand's back in the hot seat at the United Nations Security Council, taking over as chair for the month of September. 

Gerard van Bohemen will represent New Zealand, and he's indicated there'll be a focus on conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Libya, South Sudan and Syria. 

He's also made the unprecedented step of saying he'll temporarily step down as chairperson when straw poll votes are taken for the next Secretary-General, because of Helen Clark's candidacy.

"In real terms, I don't believe there is any conflict of interest in conducting a poll. But I decided it's a lot simpler to take away any kind of suggestion there might be." 

"We see no requirement as such to do this but it was a voluntary step simply made to make life cleaner for everybody."

Mr van Boheman's chosen Russia to take over as chair when the votes are taken. 

Later this month, Prime Minister John Key will head to New York where he'll attend the opening of the 71st General Assembly and deliver New Zealand's statement in the General Debate.

He'll also chair a leader-level meeting of the Security Council which will focus on the conflict in Syria and while in New York will hold a series of meetings including Ms Clark and deliver a speech to the Council for Foreign Relations.

Following his New York visit, he'll travel to Houston, Texas to promote New Zealand business and tourism links.