14 October 2016
NZNO in deep sadness join today with all other CTU affiliates and thousands of people who knew Helen Kelly and the great work she has done for a very long time on behalf of working people in New Zealand.
“She will be missed by us all and in particular some of our top industrial leaders Cee Payne, Glenda Alexander and Carol Beaumont have all worked with her very closely during her time as CTU president,” said NZNO chief executive Memo Musa.
Glenda Alexander says that Helen was a huge draw card for our nurses as she was always there for advice and support and a true inspiration.
“I remember when I first saw her as a young unionist on stage with her knee high red boots and ponytail and knew she was a leader we were going to see more of,” Glenda said.
“It is so hard for the unions to have lost Peter Conway and Helen Kelly, two totaras that have fallen so close together. They both had different strengths and this loss to workers is very significant.
“Helen Kelly stood up for the rights of others whether male foresters or young male farmers or our nurses working during employment negotiations. She really listened and she really cared and we loved this about her.
“There will be another Helen and they are there now and we at NZNO will do our best to honour her work and raise other great leaders for New Zealand society to make New Zealand a better and fairer place for everyone,” Glenda Alexander said.
“A totara has fallen and the crash in the forest is reverberating in the union movement. We have one less but we believe there are other seedlings growing strong to make the New Zealand workplace a fair and respectful environment. Rest in Peace Helen,” said Cee Payne and Glenda Alexander.