Paula Bennett. Photo Getty
A security review of Work and Income offices is being
carried out following the double shooting at an Ashburton
office on Monday.
That would mean some offices would be "locked down", Social
Development Minister Paula Bennett said today.
Over the past few days the department had seen the best and
worst of people, with some making threats against offices
around the country, Ms Bennett said.
"We've taken those threats very seriously.
"In some circumstances that will mean us locking down sites -
that means other people that genuinely need help are not able
to get it as quickly or as efficiently as they require it.
"But those are the steps we are well prepared to take."
Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle
said former police commissioner Robbie Robinson and Deloitte
New Zealand chairman Murray Jack would be undertaking the
Earlier today, former Work and Income chief executive
Christine Rankin said the possibility of a tragedy like the
Ashburton shootings had always hung over staff.
Ms Rankin told TV3's Firstlinethat Work and Income staff
deal with people in stressful situations that can't be
"de-escalated or simply talked through".
"We've always thought that something like that could happen,
it definitely hung over all of the staff there for a long
period of time."
She said when she was chief executive someone drove a car
through a Work and Income office in Flaxmere.
"It was very lucky that someone wasn't killed in that
incident and that did give us a shock and thought about the
reality of the thinking that something really big could
Ms Rankin said that removing all barriers in offices in
favour of open-plan style had decreased the number of
incidents of violence.
"The minister and the chief executive must be really worried
now about what they're going to be forced to do, because in
most other parts of the world the staff are behind
bulletproof glass," she said.
She said she hoped that New Zealand would not end up in that
Russell John Tully has been charged with two counts of murder
and one count of attempted murder.
Security has been beefed up at Work and Income offices
One hundred security guards were being deployed at branches
around the country after alleged threats in the aftermath of
the Ashburton shootings.