Waitomo News : 9 September 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 Delivered FREE to households – extra copies 50c ISSN 1170-1137 – (252) ews YOUR NEWS, YOUR VIEWS WAITOMO NKC FARMER INSIDE kg $599 $199kg $199each each $499 Talley’s Ice Cream 2L This week’s Super Specials! Specials available from Tuesday 9th September until Sunday 14th September 2014 or while stocks last. SuperValue Te Kuiti: 95 Rora Street, Te Kuiti. Phone 878 8530. Open 7am - 8pm, Monday - Friday, 8am - 8pm, Saturday - Sunday $399each svwainewss0909 Dole Philippine Loose Bananas Sanitarium Up & Go 3 Pack/ Weet-Bix 750g (Excludes Hi-Bran) Fresh Tegel NZ Chicken Drumsticks Griffin’s Chocolate Afghans/ Krispie/Wheaten/Thins 200g Coke/Fanta/ Lift/L&P/ Sprite 1.5L $199each Te Kuiti Deaths spark zero tolerance TOUGHER STANCE: Te Kuiti WINZ manager Simon Hepi is now backed by two Armourguard security guards, Mangu Puanaki (left) and Ross Webber, following last week’s fatal Ashburton shoot- ings. The guards are controlling entry to the building and may ask for ID, refusing entry to anyone considered a risk. SECURITY has doubled and the tolerance of abusive behaviour lowered to zero at Te Kuiti’s Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) office following last week’s fatal Ashburton shootings. There are now two Armourguard security guards controlling entry at the Taupiri St premises. The guards are profiling people approaching the building in a similar way to banks, which don’t admit anyone wearing a balaclava or motorbike helmet. The guards may ask for ID and anyone con- sidered a risk may be refused entry. FUTURE THREATS Speaking at Thursday’s National Party dinner in Hangatiki, just three days after the shooting of three Ashburton WINZ staff, Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett said there will now be zero tolerance of threats and abuse of staff, even if it meant people can’t access the help they genuinely need as quickly as they require it. “WINZ offices will be locked down in the event of future threats,” she said. “The message we are sending out is, if you are starting to get abusive, you’ll be asked to leave and come back when you have calmed down. If necessary you will be trespassed and the police called. Even with a throw away com- ment, if it has got violent intentions, the police will be contacted straight away. “At the least, they will be trespassed. At best they will be arrested. The safety of staff and clients is paramount.” NOT ONLY WINZ Ms Bennett said the growing problem of abusive clients is not limited to WINZ staff. “It applies to banks, retailers, even the local dairy, for crying out loud. “And, to be honest, it is difficult to plan against the risk from a random, extreme at- tack. “We can however, deal with increasingly abusive language and threats to staff. “Because of their genuine belief in helping people, WINZ staff have accepted a level of abuse that, quite frankly, most others wouldn’t take. “That’s got to stop.” Te Kuiti and Taumarunui WINZ manager Simon Hepi says some of the nine staff em- ployed in Te Kuiti are still feeling uneasy following the Ashburton shootings, however, they are safer as a result of added security on high alert and controlling access. “It’s not what you expect to happen in New Zealand,” he says. “People respond to trauma in different ways and it will take time for some of our people to move past this horrible experience. “We are always mindful of the people we are serving and have seen one or two aggressive cli- ents in recent months who’ve raised red flags. “However, we will no longer tolerate bad behaviour or language. “Anything like that is completely unac- ceptable and people will be asked to leave immediately.” Mr Hepi says Taumarunui mayor Don Cam- eron visited the Taumarunui WINZ office on Thursday to show his support. “He told me there is also zero tolerance for abusive behaviour and language at the Tau- marunui District Council offices. “He also said this is not just a WINZ con- cern – there are perhaps eight or nine places in that town dealing with similar threatening behaviour – from the supermarket, to council to the hospital. “We all have to take a united zero tolerance approach to any member of the public who abuses our staff. “And we need instant back-up from the police, who I must say have been very sup- portive.” Mr Hepi says there are some “characters” who go from shop to shop in Taumarunui menacing staff. “I have spoken with senior police in Tau- marunui about working together and police presence within the community is going to be amped up. “They came to our site and toured the office to let our staff know they are going to be more visible.” Mr Hepi says he is yet to speak with Te Kuiti Police or Waitomo’s mayor Brian Hanna.
4 September 2014
11 August 2014