Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Helen

25 Responses

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Lovely, Russell.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    It's one of the privileges of journalism that you get to speak to extraordinary people at extraordinary times.

    It wasn't lost on me that this might be her last interview, but I never guessed she would be gone so soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Her passing is very sad. She came across as a bitter hardened campaigner until her cancer was announced. She will now be remembered as a caring patriot. RIP.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre,

    She came across as a bitter hardened campaigner until her cancer was announced.

    No, she was never that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Helen's role in advancing the medical cannabis debate will always be remembered. NZ has lost an extraordinary woman. R.I.P.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Lang,

    Lovely words, Russell. She was a fine, inspiring woman and a loss to the country.

    Since Oct 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    She came across as a bitter hardened campaigner until her cancer was announced.

    No, she was never that.

    +1 on that. She wasn’t bitter, nor earnest – as you said very nicely Russell, she was relaxed and fun. I mean, she was rightfully a bit pissed off on occasions, but was so easy to talk to. On a few occasions I offered her a ride home after Q+A just so we could continue the conversation and I could enjoy her company for a bit longer. In my (limited) experience of union leaders, she was unique in that regard. She will be missed and she did great things right until the end.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Russell, what a lovely tribute to an amazing woman.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • David Herkt,

    We have lost someone fine. I am distressed for many reasons, not the least because New Zealand now lacks part of the human compass that we all require to orientate our actions and opinions. If the word ‘staunch’ can be really be accurately used, it could have been used to describe her. As a nation, we elevate sports-people, political hacks, media front-people, instant celebrities, and business-scalpers to great status, but to me, Helen Kelly, with her focus on workers and the stuff of daily life was always far more worth celebrating. And, no, she was never bitter or earnest in my small experience in proximity to her as a human being, where she was a woman of intelligence, humour, charm, and strength. I liked her smile. I always liked seeing her interviewed on TV because I knew that she would be presenting, very cogently, an alternative version of the narratives that so often trap us. I will miss her and her work immensely.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson,

    Great loss. The Union movement has been slowly weakened by strong political business desires to stop collectivisation, much to the detriment of low paid workers and their bargaining ability. I have tremendous respect for her and the whole union movement. Their survival is hard and unmerited and constantly undermined by vested interests. Yet the likes of Helen battle on for those who have no real voice, such respect, such a loss.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    I felt that her decision to champion the case of the Charanpreet Dhaliwal (the security guard killed on his first night on the job), despite his not being a union member, was a sign of both her compassion and her vision for what the Union movement needs to be in the era of 'zero hours' contracts. That compassion and vision will both be sorely missed.

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    RIP, Helen Kelly and thank so much for standing up for workers.

    I met Helen only briefly two years ago - the day after Dirty Politics was published. It was at the UBS in Dunedin and she was buying four copies. We had a quick chat about the book and I told her to keep up the good work she'd always done.

    My sincere condolences to her friends and family.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • VLCNZ,

    Brave, bold, beautiful Helen thank you

    Hamilton • Since Aug 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    She is a hero.
    When I think of heroic New Zealanders, it’s her and Elsie Locke – and maybe Kim Hill.. All women of incredible strength, yet balanced by compassion and rounded out with keen intellect and razor wit. Her passing is a loss for the nation. Her inspiration and example, a great, immeasurable gain.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Chrys Berryman,

    Helen Kelly represented hope for low paid workers in NZ....I was a unionist all my working life and experienced the gutting of workers pay and conditions after the Employment Contracts Act was passed in the early 90,s........we are still suffering its effects today.........Helen carried on fighting the awful imbalance that exists in NZ's economy,god she,ll be missed ......as for National M.P's platitudes....I wish they,d just butt out.

    Pt Chevalier • Since Sep 2014 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Admiring Helen from afar, and agreeing with what Russell and others have written, her unwillingness to give all up in despair in the face of so much inhuman obstruction for low paid workers astounded me. I think only one interview (Kim Hill I think) where she spoke about herself rather than emphasising the issues and people until the diagnosis and treatments became her next chapter. Please let's keep the spirit of her advocacy and humanity alive.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    One of the things worth pointing to about her legacy is how even from a position of weakness, shame and advocacy can keep the pressure on. Legislation of three decades has crippled the union movement but she was a excellent general marshalling its diminished resources.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Leanne Pooley,

    What those on the right who saw her as an enemy will never understand is that she was good for New Zealand. The way a country treats its weakest citizens is how that country should be judged. She knew that and by ensuring when she could that the weak had a strong voice she made NZ better for everyone. It's a massive loss.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2016 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Andre,

    "Bitter, hardened " , look I come from a much more right position and am seriously suspicious of people who seem to have a born to rule thanks to their dad than most here but that was not how I saw her.
    Strong and determined, not always right but someone who did a lot of good for low paid workers.
    Her work on timber workers safety saved lives, nothing more needs to be said.

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    I filmed her speaking at his memorial unveiling ... very special person

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    A person who deserves sincere tribute.
    But I see the insincere can't help themselves.
    Am not linking to any of them, their cant deserves nothing.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    New Zealand feels harsher, colder and less just without Helen Kelly. RIP Helen. Arohanui.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I couldn't help but think of the premature death of Bruce Jesson, and wonder again what might have been.

    RIP Helen Kelly.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r,

    Amazing woman. Lovely tribute. You touched on her subtleties. Cheers Russell. R1P HK

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

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