Office security could come under scrutiny

The triple shooting in Ashburton yesterday could result in the Ministry of Social Development taking a hard look at security protocols on all of its sites.

The ministry had rallied around its staff, with chief executive Brendan Boyle in Ashburton last night to offer support, a spokesman said.

Counselling was available for staff. Other staff around New Zealand had also been ''advised of relevant employee assistance support''.

Mr Boyle said ministry offices in Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Christchurch, Balclutha and Alexandra were closed following the attack.

The Dunedin offices were open for emergency appointments.

Anyone needing help in regions with closed offices could call the contact centre on 0800 559 009.

In Ashburton, the Jenny McDonald secondary school hockey tournament was shut down until further notice.

Pupils from two Oamaru teams, St Kevin's College and Waitaki Girls' High School, were taken to their accommodation after the Ashburton Domain turf was evacuated, Mandy Farrell, of Oamaru, said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said yesterday was an ''incredibly sad day'' which had devastated families, friends and co-workers and rocked the country.

Additional reporting by The New Zealand Herald

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