Congratulations to Helen Clark

Helen Clark’s position as Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was announced yesterday. This position is number three in the United Nations. Helen Clark was one of 10 people on a short list. She was chosen because of her excellent qualifications, and the many things she has done during her nine years as New Zealand’s Prime Minister. During that time, she travelled a lot to meet world leaders. She has always been a supporter of the United Nations and refused to send soldiers to Iraq because the United Nations did not agree with that war. However, New Zealand has always been involved in peace-keeping and in re-building countries which have suffered from war. We have soldiers working in Afghanistan now and in the past have sent soldiers to the Solomon Islands and East Timor to help bring peace.

The main job of the UNDP is to get rid of poverty, to help the poor in the world. This organisation also needs to help bring democracy to poor countries. Helen Clark has worked with Pacific Island leaders to make their countries democratic.

One of the big problems will be to make sure that money for the poor does not disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials. While Helen Clark was Prime Minister, she was tough with Cabinet Ministers who made mistakes. If they made a mistake, they lost their position. She was a very strong leader but a person who could build a strong team.

She is also known to be very intelligent, to have an excellent memory, and to be able to talk to TV reporters very easily and fluently. These are all good qualifications for her new job.

Her new job starts in August.

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