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Parliament pays tribute to Helen Kelly

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/10/2016

Parliament has paid tribute to Helen Kelly, the life-long trade unionist and union leader who died of cancer aged 52 on Friday.

Labour leader Andrew Little introduced the condolence motion on Tuesday and it was unanimously approved.

"On Friday we lost a great New Zealander," he said.

"When she saw others in need she offered to help, when she saw injustice she strove to correct it, when she saw the opportunity to fight for progressive ideals she climbed in, boots and all."

Mr Little said the tributes that flowed last Friday came from all quarters, including from her fiercest enemies, and they all respected her.

Prime Minister John Key said Ms Kelly didn't come from his side of the political fence.

"There were times when I didn't agree with her, sometimes the forceful way she made her arguments frustrated me," he said.

"But she also had my enormous respect - she was passionate, tenacious, intelligent and pragmatic, and underneath it all she had a great sense of humour."

Minor party leaders joined the condolence motion.

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