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Advocate’s comments unfair to Work and Income

14 November 2004

Advocate’s comments unfair to Work and Income

“Hamilton police have confirmed that Friday’s attack on Work and Income staff was unprovoked and totally unrelated to the business of Work and Income and its dealings with clients,” said Peter Hughes, Ministry of Social Development Chief Executive.

“I am appalled that Beneficiary Advocate Paul Blair has used this traumatic situation as an opportunity to leverage other issues.

“I am writing to Mr Blair today to express my anger on behalf of staff that there is any implication that they are in any way to blame for this attack.

“The Ministry is committed to working with its stakeholders and I accept Mr Blair has genuine concerns about Work and Income services.

“However, there can be no excuse for violence and I will not tolerate any attempt to justify this type of attack on staff. Our staff provide services to more than 1.2 million clients every day and do a fantastic job, often in very difficult circumstances.

“Mr Blair should think carefully before jumping into issues in the media without the full facts. I hope that his comments do not have intended consequences in terms of inciting any further violence.

“Thankfully the two staff members injured in the attack are recovering well. A thorough review of security is underway and the Hamilton East Office is open for business,” said Peter Hughes.

ENDS

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