Man threatened to shoot Winz case worker

Viv Logie

Police rushed to the Work and Income (Winz) office in Greymouth yesterday afternoon when a man threatened to get a gun and shoot his case worker.
West Coast police acting area commander senior sergeant Allyson Ealam, said today such behaviour was not going to be tolerated.
“Anyone who thinks they are going to get away with threatening staff at Winz, or any other business, for that matter, should think again,” she said.
Police said the 19-year-old man had attended an appointment at the Winz office to discuss matters regarding his unemployment benefit.
Mrs Ealam said that from what she
understood, the man was not happy with the outcome of the meeting and what his caseworker had told him.
He allegedly then told his case worker that he intended to get a gun and when he came back, shoot his caseworker.
Mr Ealam said that security staff at Winz quickly wrangled the man and held him until police arrived.
“He was promptly arrested and has been in custody since the incident.”
Mrs Ealam said she expected he would appear before a Justice of the Peace in the Greymouth District Court today and police would be opposing his bail.
“Be warned all incidents like this will be treated very, very seriously by police and people thinking about carrying on like this should expect to be arrested and kept in custody.”
The staff at Winz were certainly “frightened” by the man, she said.
“In these type of offences we (the police) cannot afford to not take such threats seriously — we can ill afford to take the risk as we have no idea how serious the threats are.”
Mrs Ealam also said that it was “totally unfair” that people who were just doing their jobs were threatened in this manner.