PSA welcomes decision in Ashburton WINZ safety prosecution

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The Public Service Association is welcoming the decision in WorkSafe NZ vs Ministry of Social Development, regarding safety of the Ashburton Work and Income office where two PSA members were murdered.

Chief District Court Judge Doogue found a reasonably predictable hazard of client-initiated violence occurring at a Work and Income office, and said MSD did not take all reasonable steps to prevent it.

The Ministry had already pleaded guilty to some aspects of the charge.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says the decision recognises the risks public servants face in their work.

"Judge Doogue heard experts discuss the serious and likely risk that a lone person on a mission might use a weapon to attack staff or clients at a WINZ office.

"She found that physical restrictions on clients accessing staff working areas were a reasonably practicable step to take - and that none were in place."

Mr Barclay says the PSA would like to take some time to examine the decision further and work through its ramifications, both for MSD sites and other public sector institutions.

"Our members at MSD, particularly in Ashburton, will be saddened by today’s news," Mr Barclay says.

"Peggy Noble and Leigh Cleveland continue to be deeply missed by their families, friends and colleagues.

"We want to extend our sympathies to them - and continue to offer support to anyone who’s been affected by their deaths."