Graham Kelly

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Graham Kelly


Graham Kelly is a former New Zealand union leader and Member of Parliament. Graham Kelly served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Canada, with non-resident accreditation to Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, from 2003 to 2006. Prior to his appointment as High Commissioner, Mr Kelly was a Member of Parliament from 1987 until 2003. During his time in Parliament, he served for three years as the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Select Committee and headed parliamentary delegations to the People's Republic of China, including Tibet, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Australia.

Ernie Abbott memorial

27 March 2014: Over a hundred people packed the lobby of Trades Hall, at 126 Vivian Street, in downtown Wellington, to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Wellington Trades Hall, thirty years ago;

The bombing, by an unidentified person, instantly killed Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, and caretaker of the Wellington Trades Hall.

Live music, provided by the good folk of the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band (in vibrant, socialist-red);

Attendees included Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central; former Labour MP for “Island Bay” (now Rongotai) Electorate, Liz Tennett; and current MP for Hutt South, Trevor Mallard; Former Labour MP, Graham Kelly; Green MPs Denise Roche and Catherine Delahunty; Former Alliance activist, Carrick Lewis ;Cath Wallace from ECO; Wellington Trades Hall secretary, Graeme Clarke, who was Wellington District Secretary of the Federation of Labour in 1984 SFWU organiser, Daele O’Connor, Paul Tolich, Richard Wagstaff, National Secretary for the PSA and Vice President of the CTU. The last speaker, was Peter Cranney, who in 1984 was Vice President of the Wellington Cleaner’s Union, and is currently a lawyer specialising in workers’ advocacy.[1]

Lucky miss

Graeme Clarke, Henry Stubbs and Graham Kelly were among a small group of unionists who walked past a bomb at Wellington Trades Hall 20 minutes before it went off at 5:19pm on March 27, 1984, killing caretaker Ernie Abbott.

The three men attended the 30th anniversary memorial service for Mr Abbott in the foyer of Trades Hall in Vivian St March 2014.

Immediately before the bombing they had attended the regular monthly meeting of the management committee of the Federation of Labour's Wellington District Trades Council.

The meeting was chaired by the late Pat Kelly and Mr Clarke, then the secretary of the Wellington District Council of the Federation of Labour, recalled last night how he and President Mr Pat Kelly had walked past the suitcase bomb when they left the building before going on to attend another union meeting at Fraser House in Willis St.

"While we sat in the room [at the Trades Hall meeting] a bomb was sitting outside. If it had gone off earlier it could have taken away the whole of the management committee of the Wellington Trades Council.

"It is with some good fortune that I am here today because when we left, I left with Pat Kelly, we walked out the door with arms full of leaflets.

"Pat saw the suitcase but our arms were too full to pick up the suitcase, which had nothing to do with us," Mr Clarke said.

At the meeting the three men had planned a campaign against Prime Minister Rob Muldoon's wage freeze.[2]

References