Former prime minister Helen Clark will join one of world's leading drug policy reform think tanks, along with other former world leaders.
Clark, who last year lost her bid to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations, ended her second four-year term with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in April.
And on Thursday (New Zealand time) she was announced as one of the new members of the Global Fund, which aims to reform drug policy in order to reduce societal harm.
Helen Clark will be working alongside former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, and prominent business people and cultural leaders such as Sir Richard Branson.
I believe that drug policy needs to evolve from a substance-based to a people-centered approach," Clark said.
"Harm reduction, prevention, and evidence-based treatment have shown their effectiveness around the world. I have witnessed this from New Zealand to Belarus. Now is the time to address the policy barriers to better outcomes.
"This is what I plan to work on with my fellow Global Commissioners."
The fund said consensus on which the international drug control regime was established more than fifty years ago was broken.
A growing number of national or local authorities are moving away from a prohibitive attitude towards drugs and experimenting with different ways of managing their presence in society.
The fund advocated for evidence-based drug reform, and was largely supportive of the legal regulation of substances, rather than criminalisation.
It also supported harm reduction interventions and therapies tailored to meet the needs of those affected by drugs.
The fund's first report, published in 2011, spoke of the negative consequences of the so-called "war on drugs", saying priority should be given to health and safety and measures that helped communities, rather than penalising people.
Its reports from 2012, 2013 and 2015 also looked at potential negative impacts of a punitive approach to drugs.
The fund stated the criminalisation of people who used drugs added to the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. It also had an effect on access to palliative care and pain medication.
The NZ Drug Foundation said having Clark join the group was a "real coup".
The foundation's executive director Ross Bell said the think tank had become well known for championing "cutting edge, health-focused approaches" to drug problems.
During her tenure at the United Nations Development Programme, there was a sea change of views on drug policy within the agency, he said.
At the UN's general assembly meeting on the world drugs problem in April 2016 the UNDP criticised current international drug policy, highlighting the effects the approach was having on the world's poor.
In 2013, Clark told Reuters there was no doubt from a health position we should treat the issue of drugs as primarily a health and social issue rather than a criminalised issue.
"The mana of the Commission will be further strengthened by Ms Clark's appointment," Bell said, adding that while her role would be globally focused, it was likely New Zealand would find ways to involve her in upcoming discussions on law reform.
The Labour-led government has said it would legalise medicinal cannabis, and hold a referendum on the legalisation of cannabis for personal recreational use, on or by the 2020 election.
"It is very welcome that Ms Clark will throw her weight behind global efforts to drop punitive approaches to drugs in favour of putting health first. She knows gender issues inside out and has talked about the connection between drug production, poverty and the environment," Bell said.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, and former Prime Minister and President of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta is also joining the fund, which is made up of 25 members, including 12 former Heads of State or Government from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Timor-Leste.