11 Feb 2015

Security sign of times says Ashburton mayor

7:43 am on 11 February 2015

Ashburton's mayor said he accepts higher security at Work and Income is necessary, but he does not like what it represents.

Ashburton shooting

Flowers near the scene of the Ashburton shooting. Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

The Ministry for Social Development yesterday released its second report following the fatal shootings at the Ashburton Work and Income office last year.

The report found the need to increase security and have a zero tolerance policy towards abuse, which it said had been too high.

Security had been increased at Work and Income in the town, a sign times have changed, said Ashburton mayor, Angus McKay.

"It's not what I'd like to see in small town New Zealand, but it's the price to be paid for safety."

The Public Service Association national secretary, Richard Wagstaff, endorsed the report's findings, and said his members would be more at ease if security were improved.

"I think it's a case-by-case issue. The review here points to the fact that maybe there aren't enough security staff, and maybe their role could be enhanced. We just think that's worth looking at. Our members feel safer when there's security around, and that needs to be adequate."

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