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Helen Clark: Prime Minister, New Zealand, 1999-2008


Empowering Women Around the World

Helen Clark: Prime Minister, New Zealand, 1999-2008

Helen Clark served three successive terms as Prime Minister of New Zealand and has been active in the New Zealand Labour Party for much of her adult life. She served as a member of the Party's New Zealand Executive Committee from 1978 until September 1988 and again in April 1989. She has been an Executive Member of the party’s Auckland Regional Council, Secretary of the Labour Women's Council, and a member of the Policy Council. In 1987, Prime Minister Clark became a Cabinet Minister in New Zealand’s Fourth Labour Government, first as Minister of Housing and as Minister of Conservation, then as Minister of Health and later as Deputy Prime Minister. When her party came into office as part of a coalition following the 1999 election, she was elected Prime Minister. Under her tenure, New Zealand saw significant improvements; the minimum wage was raised six times, the welfare system has improved, and there has been sustained and stable economic growth, including a reduction in unemployment. The Honorable Clark has been ranked one of the Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes, and has been honored numerous times for her policies and actions. The government of the Solomon Islands awarded Prime Minister Clark the Star of the Solomon Islands in 2005 in recognition of New Zealand's role in restoring law and order in the Solomon Islands, and in January 2008 she was awarded the United Nations Environment Programme Champions of the Earth award. In March 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations confirmed the appointment of Prime Minister Clark as head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a post she held until April 2017. 

 
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