FORMER New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has urged Queensland’s business elite to consider the peace and prosperity of poorer nations as integral to their future prosperity.
Since leaving New Zealand politics in 2008, Ms Clark has led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which delivers $5 billion worth of development programs in 177 countries and territories.
Speaking at a QUT Business Leaders’ Forum yesterday, Clark reminded business leaders that emerging markets had a direct effect on first-world economies.
"There can be no question that the geo-economics and geo-politics of our world are changing very, very fast, especially in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis when many of the advanced economies have struggled to make headway and when the emerging economies are carrying the burden of sustainable global growth," says Clark.
"The demand for commodities, goods and services from developing countries whose people have high disposable incomes and better prospects has certainly helped countries like yours and mine at a time of sluggish demand from our traditional markets.”
She said underdevelopment and conflict had become huge push factors for migration away from developing countries, while educated and healthy populations would provide whole world benefits.
Clark was also barraged with questions about her views on the Australian Labor Party’s leadership spill last week.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership spill last Thursday after party stalwart Simon Crean publicly challenged her to take on Kevin Rudd.
Clark says the situation is not about political incompetence, but instead a struggle for power.
"Once you get to the top job, there are a lot of people who want that job - they may be in your party or in the opposition party," she explains.
"You have to be constantly communicating what you achieved today, what you can achieve tomorrow and what you need to achieve in the future."
Clark attributed much of her leadership success to being "utterly transparent" in her role as New Zealand Prime Minister.
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