New Zealand Labour Party

Andrew Little's Tribute to Helen Kelly

Today, we have lost a champion of working people and many of us have lost a dear friend.

Helen Kelly leaves a strong legacy. She was an inspirational New Zealander.

Helen was utterly fearless. She fought not just for union members but for the dignity of all working people.

She stood up; she spoke out; she fought for what is right. That's who she was.

Just one example is the forestry campaign she led to help make the industry safer. Her tenacity and dedication was not just a comfort to the loved ones of those killed, but a driving force in getting changes that will save countless lives.

Helen leaves a huge gap – not just in the union movement but in progressive politics. We are all the poorer for the great achievements she will not get to finish and the fights she will not get to wage.

But the best tribute we can pay to our friend, this inspiring woman, is to continue that fight.

To continue the work she would have done. To wage and win the fights she would have won if she had been given more time.

That is Helen's legacy. A generation of activists will look to her for inspiration and learn from her example.

We mourn but we organise and we keep on working for the ideals Helen dedicated her life to. That's the greatest tribute we can pay to her.

Rest easy, mate. And thanks for everything.