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Maori Party's attitude to Clark `stinks'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

Labour has criticised the Maori Party for refusing to support former prime minister Helen Clark's bid to be the next UN secretary-general.

"It's really disappointing ... I think, frankly, it stinks," Labour leader Andrew Little told reporters.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox earlier told Fairfax her party wasn't supporting Miss Clark because of her record on indigenous rights.

She said Miss Clark didn't want to sign up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, was prime minister when the foreshore and seabed legislation was introduced, and had supported the Tuhoe raids.

Mr Little said every New Zealander should be behind Miss Clark's bid.

"It's a great opportunity for a New Zealander to take one of the prime roles in international and diplomatic affairs," he said.

"I would have thought the Maori Party was big enough to recognise that this is good for all New Zealanders, including Maori."

Mr Little said he didn't think the Maori Party's stance would make any difference to Miss Clark's chances.

The government fully supports Miss Clark, who is one of 12 candidates in the race to replace Ban Ki-moon when he steps down at the end of the year.

The UN Security Council has held its first ballot to whittle down the number of candidates, and Miss Clark didn't do well.

Reuters reported she ended up in fifth place, with former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres leading the pack and former Slovenian president Danilo Turk coming in second.

The 15-member council is due to hold another ballot at the end of the week.

Eventually it will reach a consensus on a candidate it can recommend to the UN General Assembly.

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd had wanted to join the race but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday decided he wasn't the right man for the job and refused to nominate him.

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