You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

WINZ shooting ruling brings closure: union

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

The sentencing of the Ministry of Social Development over the Work and Income shooting in Ashburton will bring much-needed closure for the families of the two women who died, the PSA says.

Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue has entered a conviction against the ministry on a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of it employees.

Leigh Cleveland and Peggy Noble were killed in the incident in the WINZ office in September 2014.

In May, Russell John Tully was sentenced to life imprisonment with 27 years' non-parole for their murders and the attempted murder of a third staff member.

Public Service Association national secretary Glenn Barclay says the ministry's sentencing marks the end of a lengthy process which would have been deeply upsetting for the victims' families, friends and colleagues.

"We hope their healing can continue and we continue to offer our support to anyone who has been affected by this tragedy." he said.

Mr Barclay said the judge noted that staff in the Ashburton WINZ office felt scared, exposed and vulnerable, and had at times been cornered and threatened by clients.

He said a recent survey had shown that frontline public servants often bore the brunt of their clients' frustrations,

"The PSA has been working with the ministry in establishing new guidelines for office layouts," he said.

"However, there is more work to do and those conversations are continuing."

Judge Doogue declined the ministry's application for a discharge without conviction.

She said she would have imposed a fine of $16,000, had she been able to. By law, government departments cannot be fined.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon