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Evacuation Sensible and Necessary

Media release
18 March 2004

For immediate release

Evacuation Sensible and Necessary

An evacuation sparked by a bomb scare at the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology this morning was “sensible, necessary and appropriate”, according to the Ministry’s chief executive Dr Helen Anderson.

The scare, which centred on a ticking and beeping parcel found by a ministry staff member, caused the Ministry and the rest of the Reserve Bank building to be evacuated. As a result of police requests, neighbouring and nearby buildings were also evacuated.

The “bomb” turned out to be a clock.

“In the circumstances, the staff member did exactly the right thing,” said Dr Anderson. “The parcel was actually a gift from an Asia-Pacific region science minister, forwarded from Christchurch after last week’s APEC Science Ministers’ meeting. It was meant for our Science Minister Pete Hodgson, but was initially delivered to our offices.”

Dr Anderson said that given the heightened awareness of terrorism and the recent bombings in Spain in particular, the Ministry was left with no other course of action.

“Evacuation was our only option, and although this caused significant disruption, the decision was appropriate. I do of course regret the inconvenience caused, but at the same time I’m grateful that there was no damage other than the disruption.”

Ministry workers returned to the building at about 10.30am.

ENDS.

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