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Helen Clark

Clark, Helen, 1950–, New Zealand politician, prime minister (1999–2008), b. Hamilton, N.Z. A graduate of the Univ. of Auckland (B.A., 1971; M.A., 1974), she taught political science there (1973–81). In 1981 she was elected to parliament as a member of the Labor party. Clark held various cabinet posts (1987–90) and served deputy prime minister (1989–90). Named party leader in 1993, she led the party to victory in 1999 and became prime minister of a coalition government; Labor retained power in 2002 and 2005. In office, Clark increased government spending, boosted the economy, nationalized lands claimed by Maoris, championed a national antinuclear policy, and refused to join the U.S.–led war against Iraq. Following Labor's 2008 loss to the National party, she resigned as party leader. In 2009 Clark was appointed to a four-year term as administrator of the United Nations Development Program.

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