August 7, 2002
Attack on Work and Income office reminder of staff vulnerability
The incident in the Porirua office of Work and Income New Zealand yesterday in which office equipment was destroyed by
someone wielding weapons is a stark reminder of the difficulties Work and Income face in their job, PSA national
secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.
“That no-one was physically hurt in the incident yesterday should not detract from the fact that this kind of violent
action leaves staff feeling extremely traumatised and is an indication of how at-risk our members working in the
frontline of the public service can be.”
Richard Wagstaff said public service frontline staff, particularly those at Work and Income, are regularly subjected to
verbal and sometimes physical abuse but it was only when extreme incidents like yesterday occurred that attention was
drawn to the difficulties of the work.
“It is important to remember that our people at Work and Income assist more than 1.2 million clients, the vast majority
of whom are satisfied with the service. We should all be mindful of the professional job they do under what can
sometimes be very trying circumstances,” concluded Richard Wagstaff.