5 years since Helen Kelly died & CTU still looks rudderless


Helen would aways say to me, “tell their stories”.

Helen was convinced that if the rest of NZ could see the stories of workers and the terrible work conditions they were forced to endure, then NZers innate goodness would generate empathy and demand change.

Helen fought her entire life for the workers of this country, it was immensely angering that she couldn’t get the cannabis medicine she needed in her final months.

5 years since Helen Kelly died and her passing still hangs like a giant black hole over the entire Union movement.

The Wellington Union Conclave today are more focused on woke policing of language and Identity Politics dogma than class struggle. With PSA domination middle class virtue signaling trumps Revolution every day of the week.

Chris Trotter highlights the CTUs impotence….

WHERE HAVE THE UNIONS BEEN during the Covid-19 Pandemic? That the question can even be posed suggests that something is very wrong with the New Zealand labour movement. After all, the answer should be all around us.

At its high-point, under the late, and sorely missed, Helen Kelly, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) liked to present itself as the largest democratic organisation in New Zealand. With upwards of 300,000 affiliated members, that claim was no idle boast. As Kelly proved, the CTU has always possessed the potential to do an enormous amount of good.

So, where has it been? Why hasn’t its current president, Richard Wagstaff, become a household name during the pandemic? Up there with Ashley Bloomfield, Michael Baker, Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles? Where was the tireless advocacy for essential workers: the people who stood at the check-out counters, drove the trucks and operated the warehouses? When supermarket workers came under attack from the stupid and the selfish, why were they defended with more passion by their bosses, than by the CTU?

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

…Helen Kelly wouldn’t have put up with the glib asthetics of wokedom, there was too much work to be done at the coal front than arguing over pronoun use.

Luckily for the insipid Union movement, the ghost of Helen returns with the Fair Pay Agreement which she wrote and went far further in building worker power via universal Union membership than anything the CTU was offering.

Helen Kelly is still saving the Union movement!

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media


  1. Amazing, and really disappointing how fast NZ’s proletariat, and their mentors in the middle/upper classes of of the moneyed, descended into self centered, childish whining about nothing… How thay are actually destroying their own political foundations in their rush to deify the self over the collective good.. I absolutely hate the fact that they insist on being known as the “woke left”.. This disgusts me, as these cretins have no idea what “left” actually means.. which is collectivism, and the power we had as a result of our sticking together, despite any personal differences we may have had… That’s all gone now.. Thanks fuckwits… The very solidarity that helped to create the great egalitarian society that NZ was heading towards, before NZers lost their bottle and re installed the same arseholes that were working to return us to the hacylon days of colonialism, and white privilege, has been sacrificed on the alter of utter self interest, and delusional, childish self interest… Delusional in claiming the “left” tag when they are actually promoting fascism… It doesn’t get any stupider than these prats…

  2. Have any of the first three commenters ever been union members? Ever been on strike? or supported a picket or boycott? I have for many years, so feel qualified to comment.

    The formation of the NZCTU via merging the Combined State Unions and Federation of Labour was the biggest class error of the late 20th century. The second biggest was Ken Douglas and various other Union Secretaries in 1991 not calling a national stoppage while thousands of workers were in action the length of the country. The resulting ECA decimated union density and cemented in employer power–as Treasury graphs show, productivity rose as wages fell!

    If there is an ordinary worker who knows who Richard Wagstaff is it would interesting to meet them! Fair Pay Agreements if they are ever instituted will be watered down and not that effective if the lukewarm support from Unions is anything to go by.

    Unions that do fight include FIRST and UNITE, and an honourable mention to the Teachers for standing strong against ACT Charter Schools during the Key years. Really it is up to the new gen workers now to rebuild the NZCTU into a class left fighting organisation as was the old FOL, with Jim Knox and Helen Kelly’s dad Pat leading from the front.

    • Yes, Tiger Mountain, I am a Union member, and yes, I have been on strikes, marches, and confronted employers on Union requests…and sadly, watched other union members getting pushed on to the road by security guards, where the Police arrested the Union Members for blocking a public road, despite witnessing the Security Guards action…before cellphones would have captured this.

  3. Agree current union leaders do not represent the workers.
    Majority have never worked anywhere but in an office?
    The expression shop floor has been lost.

  4. My union is also utterly hopeless. If the union newsletter is anything to go by, the biggest issues at workplaces like mine are decolonization, and sexual harassment (which itself is apparently “linked to” colonization). I guess they have to write something to distract from their inability to save people’s jobs.

  5. Wow… five years ago? Poor kid.
    You’ll laugh at this.
    The only union really needed is a farmers union to force the dodgy foreign banksters into forfeiting the ill gotten proceeds of their greed back to the working people.
    All else is fluff and sugary icing on a stale old cake of bullshit.

  6. CB has the sort of fire that is needed to speak up for the ordinary worker.
    That thing about NZ not being able to give Kelly medicinal cannabis. Such a disappointment. We can’t choose when and how to die with strict criteria. We can’t make hard decisions to ameliorate conditions, to meet needs, things we had are taken away. The Unions should be pushing WEA education so we are vitally involved with our country and our neighbours throughout the land. But legal aid is being withdrawn etc. Wish some John Lee was rearing up concerned about good standards and support for citizens. Instead there are mealy mouthed youths and oversmart young females with a mixture of woke ideas that bear no relation to what is needed for a good life, and how people who aren’t PMC can establish themselves and carve out their path.

Comments are closed.