New Zealand's permanent representative to the United Nations, Jim McLay, is well-placed to take on the role of representing the country on the UN Security Council.
Mr McLay has been permanent representative to the UN since 2009 and was deeply involved in the campaign to win a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
Between 1994 and 2002 he had been NZ's representative on the International Whaling Commission, so he has a long history in dealing with intractable international problems.
Mr McLay was born in 1945, studied for a law degree at Auckland University and joined the National Party in 1963. He became the MP for Birkenhead in 1975.
In 1978, he was appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Justice by the then-Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon. In early 1984, he became deputy leader of the National Party and deputy Prime Minister.
National lost the election later that year, prompting a push to remove Mr Muldoon as leader.
Mr Muldoon refused to leave voluntarily and was challenged by Mr McLay and Jim Bolger.
Mr McLay won the vote. But his leadership was troubled as Mr Muldoon opposed Mr McLay's attempts to move National away from the interventionist economic policies it had previously promoted.
Mr Bolger also remained ambitious about getting the leadership. By early 1986, Mr McLay's leadership was in deep trouble and, in March, George Gair, Bill Birch and National's whip Don McKinnon presented Mr McLay with a letter saying the majority of MPs wanted him to step aside.
Mr Bolger then took over the leadership, leaving Mr McLay with the unenviable record of being the only National Party leader who neither became Prime Minister nor led his party to an election.
Ironically Mr McKinnon, who played a part in Mr McLay's political demise, also played a significant role in New Zealand's campaign to win a seat on the Security Council.
Role likely to be shared with Key and McCully
After his loss, Mr McLay retired from politics in 1987 but he has continued to play a prominent role in New Zealand's public life ever since, including his stints on the IWC and at the UN.
He said New Zealand's strong reputation as an independent nation and its lack of baggage was behind its success in winning a seat on the Security Council.
Mr McLay said being on the council would allow New Zealand to be part of making real decisions on international peace and security.
But he acknowledged that the right of the five permanent members - the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain - to veto any Security Council resolution remained an impediment to the council operating effectively.
From the beginning of next year, Mr McLay will lead New Zealand's representation on the Security Council.
It is also likely that from time to time Foreign Minister Murray McCully, and possibly on occasions Prime Minister John Key, will be the country's senior representative at the council table when they are in New York.