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Helen Clark faces uphill UN battle: Key

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/08/2016

Helen Clark now faces an uphill battle to come United Nations secretary-general, but it's not impossible, Prime Minister John Key says.

The former prime minister is believed to have dropped from sixth to seventh place in the latest UN straw poll, held over the weekend - prompting speculation Miss Clark may drop out of the race.

Former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres remains the frontrunner.

Mr Key says Miss Clark can see the numbers are going in the wrong direction for her.

"But these polls are still relatively early," he told reporters on Monday.

"It's not impossible that she could get over the line, but of course the results recently are making it a bit more difficult for her."

Mr Key said Miss Clark would go away and consider the latest result.

"I think she's just going to take stock of the result and with her team in New York she's just assessing what are the next best steps for her."

Following Saturday's vote, Miss Clark herself took to Twitter to thank the members who supported her.

"Disappointed by outcome. Discussing this over coming days," she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Key said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull didn't ask him for advice before deciding not to back Kevin Rudd's bid for the UN's top job.

Mr Key said he didn't offer any advice either.

"[Mr Turnbull] deals with his own issues," Mr Key said.

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