Helen Clark: Government should invest in next America's Cup

Helen Clark is in Wellington for a United Nations Association Conference
Helen Clark is in Wellington for a United Nations Association Conference Photo credit: Newshub

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says the government should definitely invest in infrastructure for the next America's Cup.

She said it's prestigious to win and prestigious to host, though she stopped short of saying how much should be spent.

"This is a huge thing for New Zealand, this keeps New Zealand in the headlines, it's good for tourism, it's good for marine technology, it's good for the reputation and brand for the country", Miss Clark said.

Miss Clark is in Wellington for a United Nations Association Conference, though there were plenty of things she wasn't prepared to talk about: domestic politics; the biggest issues facing New Zealand; terror threats on New Zealand soil; Trump and whether Andrew Little is New Zealand's answer to Jeremy Corbyn.

Yesterday the new US Ambassador, Scott Brown, urged New Zealanders to "give Trump a chance" but Miss Clark didn't want to comment.

"I don't want to go down the track of answering questions about that. I'm sure New Zealand will get on and make its luck with this administration as it's made its luck with other administrations," Miss Clark said.

In response to whether Mr Trump is risking global stability, it was a resounding "no comment".

Miss Clark says anything can happen in politics, as recent elections have shown.

"I think we're seeing quite unpredictable elections in western countries. Brexit was unpredictable, the last UK election outcome was unpredictable, the American outcome was unpredictable, look at France where the president had barely formed his own party a year ago and came through crushing all the old parties, so anything can happen in politics," she said.

Miss Clark isn't meeting with Labour leader Andrew Little while she's in New Zealand, and when asked how he compared to UK Labour's Jeremy Corbyn she said "I'm not even going to answer on the Kiwi scene", she said.

So how safe does Miss Clark think New Zealand is from terrorism? Miss Clark said "Any of us could have been at the stadium in Manchester or the borough market, or the Brussels airport, or the stadium in Paris, so that is a real issue," she said.

"I suspect kiwis are philosophical, if they've planned a big trip they're going to do it anyway. They'll just be a bit more cautious when they see a white van heading their way in case that's the one that has a suicidal terrorist determined to kill himself and everybody else."

"We're not on the front line, geographically, but we definitely have an interest in how the terrorist threat is handled," she said.

Miss Clark is about to embark on what she describes as "the trip of a lifetime" on the Trans-Siberian Express railway. She then plans to return to the speaking circuit.

"I'm flooded with invitations and requests but I'm getting a little choosy", she said.