Two former NZ prime ministers call for US to restore global ‘leadership’

Helen Clark
Former New Zealand PM Helen Clark ... "A Biden presidency has a chance of turning [the US polarisation] around”. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Two former New Zealand prime ministers have called for an end to polarisation and the need for “healing” as the US presidential election remains in limbo.

Both former Labour PM Helen Clark and ex-National PM Sir John Key talked up the “television spectacle” in newspaper columns today with Key admitting that he “finally gets” why many voters like incumbent President Donald Trump.

Key said he had spent an hour watching one of Trump’s many rallies in Pennsylvania rather than “a few clips on the news”.

“While some of Trump’s behaviour was unbecoming of a President, and the speech itself bereft of substance, for the first time I could see why 5000 people had bothered turning up on a freezing afternoon to watch him,” he wrote in The New Zealand Herald.

“Trump was their guy.

“He stands against all of what they believe is wrong with the world and, in particular, the Washington ‘swamp’.

“He is the outsider unafraid to say it as he sees it, which is how his audience sees the world. He identifies their favourite villain, China, repeatedly calling it out.”

He called on the next President to “get the nation’s mojo back”.

‘Compassionate leadership’ needed
Also writing in The Herald, Helen Clark said one thing was very clear from the election – “the United States is a deeply polarised country”.

But she predicted that a Biden presidency had a chance of turning this situation around.

“The fractures which run along political lines are a reflection of not only long-standing inequalities, particularly along ethnic lines, and widely divergent world views, but also of the impact of technological change and globalisation which have seen once secure and unionised jobs diappear, leaving whole communities and regions behind.”

Clark said Biden would have the skills for “calming emotions within the country and making it clear that he would pursue policies inclusive of all Americans”.

She also warned: “A superpower racked by division and self-doubt about its core values and its place in the world is a destabilising force in global affairs at a time when collaborative and compassionate leadership is sorely needed.”


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