Helen Kelly blamed Muldoonism for Trades Hall killing

Interviews of Helen Kelly in the year before she died are being edited into a movie, due out later this year.

A preview of part of that from Newshub – Revealed: Helen Kelly blamed fatal bomb attack on Sir Robert Muldoon

A new film about the late union leader Helen Kelly reveals she blamed a fatal bomb attack on anti-union hysteria whipped up by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon.

Ms Kelly said the frenzy led the suitcase bombing left in the building, its explosion killing caretaker Ernie Abbott.

In it, she recalls how she knew Mr Abbott well – her father Pat Kelly worked in the hall with him.

“He was just a lovely guy who lived in the hall, did his job, was a union person as well, had a little dog which everybody loved that got injured in the bombing, Patch.”

The movie is based on a series of interviews with the union leader in the year before she died – including one about the 1984 Trades Hall bombing.

There is a scene on the bomb attack, based on interview footage released to Newshub, in which Helen Kelly clearly blames it on the environment created by Muldoon, known as ‘Muldoonism’.

“Just this absolute sort of anti-Communist, anti-socialist, anti-reds under the bed hysteria which was really designed to shut down trade unions and discredit them,” she said.

“It was run by Muldoon – and it was vicious, and people were being forced to be sort of scared of trade unions and to see them as a threat,” she said.

“And it got worse and worse, and it was this sort of war of words at that stage – and then suddenly, someone put a bomb in the Trades Hall.”

It’s quite possible that intolerance and hate whipped up for political purposes at least contributed to the murder of Abbott. This was as bad as the Rainbow Warrior bombing, whether killing someone was the aim or not.

The deliberate division and attack methods of Donald Trump could also contribute to something terrible in the US happening, given the number and type of arms readily available there.

Looking back: Trades Hall bombing, 1984

Trades Hall bombing, 1984

This police poster calls for information on the Trades Hall bombing, at Vivian Street, Wellington, on 27 March 1984. A bomb left in a suitcase killed Ernie Abbott, a unionist and caretaker of the hall. At the time of the bombing Trades Hall was the headquarters of a number of trade unions. The attack came after a period of heightened industrial tensions, during which Prime Minister Robert Muldoon made frequent verbal attacks on the union movement. The bombing remains an unsolved crime, but it appears to have been the action of an isolated individual with a hatred of unions.

Courtesy of New Zealand Police – Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa