Scoop report by Jeremy Wilkinson
At a news conference today in Wellington, Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard and the Ministry of Social Development’s CO Brandon Boyle expressed concern about the number of threats received by Work and Income New Zealand following Monday’s murders in Ashburton.
According to Mr. Boyle the police have received firearms threats in the last 48 hours in New Plymouth, Hastings, Blenheim, Thames and Christchurch.
The majority of threats have come from people who are known to Work and Income.
Police have arrested people tied to the threats and Deputy Commissioner Rickard says Police will come down hard on anyone who thinks these kinds of threats are acceptable.
The Ministry of Social Development is working closely with police Boyle says, and new security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of Work and Income staff.
These extra security measures include the addition of 100 extra security personnel placed inside Work and Income facilities throughout the country.
Police reinforcements will be on site at Work and Income facilities in the Canterbury region “to deter any potential copycat behavior,” says Rickard.
Mr. Boyle said he would present the MSD’s new security review tomorrow.
News from PSA
The Public Service Association says the continuing threats against Work and Income staff in the wake of the Ashburton shootings are a disgrace, and must end.
Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary, said “Many Canterbury public servants, including Work and Income, are currently in lockdown following a threat,”
“This morning, a window was smashed at Work and Income in Nelson while staff and clients were in the office.
“These ongoing threats are completely unacceptable and Police must act swiftly.
“All workers have should expect to be able to do their jobs without putting themselves at risk.
“Public servants work hard to make our country better, and they should be proud of the work they do, not fearful.
“Our Work and Income members across the country will be feeling especially vulnerable at the moment, and they deserve our support and compassion,” said Richard Wagstaff.