Fatal Shootings At Ashburton WINZ Office, Police Siege Ongoing


Desperate John Tully is said to be seeking 'death by cop'

Desperate John Tully is said to be seeking ‘death by cop’

Another shooting rampage has occurred in New Zealand, this time in the small Canterbury township of Ashburton.

One news report stated

POLICE have named the suspect in a shooting rampage at a government job agency in New Zealand that claimed two lives.

A man wearing a black balaclava entered the Work and Income office (WINZ) in the South Island town of Ashburton just after 10am and fired a gun, police said.

Two people were shot dead, police confirmed, with a third in a serious but stable condition.

The man was seen leaving on a bicycle afterwards and is still on the loose.

Police say the “alleged offender and a person of interest” is John Henry Tully.

Police say it is believed the 48-year-old was last seen wearing camouflage clothing and a balaclava, and may have been in the possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

Canterbury District Superintendent Gary Knowles said Tully, 48, may have shaved his head…

Tully, who has a debilitating illness had returned home to New Zealand to die, he’d recently be made homeless.

ONE News reporter Donna-Marie Lever says she has been told by residents that the man is a local and that he “did have an axe to grind with the WINZ and had been trespassed from the office in the past.”

Lever said she understands the man was very calm when he entered the office, but that there was a lot of screaming after the shooting and that he was yelling as he fled the scene…

You’ve blown her to bits

One witness, who didn’t want to be named, said he saw a staff member from Work and Income run from the shop after the shooter yelling “You bastard, you’ve blown her to bits”, The New Zealand Herald reported.

A postie at a business across the road heard the man screaming and swearing as he left the building…

The incident is ongoing and the alleged shooter is said to be holed up somewhere in the town. Residents are advised to stay indoors and lock their doors until he is found.

It has prompted nationwide discussions on the effects the present NZ government’s policies are having on vulnerable people, and their treatment by government workers. This post appears on the TradeMe forum today, there is no indication of the location of this particular WINZ office.


WINZ staff criticized for bullying

Our deepest condolences are extended to the families and colleagues of the deceased.


If you, or anyone you know, has fallen foul of WINZ guidlines or hardline policies we’d like to hear from you.


11 thoughts on “Fatal Shootings At Ashburton WINZ Office, Police Siege Ongoing

  1. Unfortunetely my husband took really ill and was written off on supported living benefit for our whole family, anyway we were getting a accomadation allowance but then a review was carried out recently and it was cut due to the fact we owned a section, one that is for sale and has not sold. They said due to this fact we had a asset so no more accomadation allowance..heck i could have understood if i was renting a home out while living in another. So due to this we are left with 150 a week for everything after rent, so i recently went to winz to get a food allowance keeping in mind i thought i would easily get it as i have never being to winz since i was put on the benefit ( we) i mean. I told winz lady that we did no longer get help with rent so now less money. She said food grants were only carried out and allowed if a ”unexpected” expense pops up and not just if you do not have enough money for food..go figure. Now i do not condone crime or drug selling but heck i totally get why it occurs as this is our first time dealing with winz as i am 46 hubby is 60 and until recently have always worked.. My husband is now looking for work even though he is still very ill and early stage liver cirrousus.

  2. Ohmigoodness – I completely agree with your posting – that is exactly correct – it isn’t until somebody has experienced personally how winz treats (or mistreats) clients that they understand the reality of people’s lives. I was lied to so many times and told completely different stories by case managers and had threats to cut my benefit when it was their fault that I am not surprised either that happened and exactly, am surprised it hasn’t happened more often. I would be very interested to know how many beneficiaries have taken their own lives because of the decisions and way they were treated by winz – misinformed, not informed at all, treated like they are fraudsters, etc. I personally lost everything because of winz, having developed oos (occupational overuse syndrome) caused by my 16 year deskbound career – mostly from 10 very stressful years of 40+ hours a week doing exacting graphic computer-based work. how I survived or wanted to live after having lost everything is beyond me and I completely understand people who have taken their lives. however the thing I learned was that – previously any perceived problems were nothing compared to living day to day trying to survive. the man who shot the case managers should not have done so – he should have had assistance to relocate (I checked my self the day I heard about the shootings – & there was nothing on the net available in ashburton – one near there for $170 per week. I understand he should have had the right to live there as that was his hometown – however reality was that if he had shifted to, say wellington where there are many affordable and nice boarding houses, etc. in his price range that he could have found a supportive community. from what was shown on tv ashburton looks like a town full of not very worldly, not very intelligent, not very compassionate, self-serving, selfish people. for example – he was camped in a park and told to move on by police. move on to where? I understand that people are only able to think of their own lives if they haven’t experienced his sort of issues, however, perhaps then they are not suitable people to be working for people with special needs – it is, after all their job to take care of people – and they would not have their job if it wasn’t for them. if they were customer service staff in any other business they would be dismissed. they seem to get elevated by knowing there are poor, desparate people and many of them aren’t that knowledgable about health issues themselves.

  3. New Zealand beneficiaries are now the most discriminated against group of people in the country. What other group could government ministers such as Paula Bennett go on public TV and openly criticise? What other group could policies be bought in to force them to pay monthly visits to an office that makes the pretence of trying to help them, while simultaneously having an abuse culture that is well documented (and goes back more than 10 years)?

    After seeing what people go through in dealing with WINZ, and seeing people leaving their offices totally demoralised after suffering abuse from their workers, I anonymously phoned the office of Paula Bennett (who I started calling “Pull the Benefit” as it seemed like a more appropriate name given current government policies). I never got to talk to the “Minister of Social Development,” but I quickly realised the level of incompetence present at the office when the workers there weren’t even aware of what the tax rate is in New Zealand, and showed clearly that they have no idea what the word “harassment” means.

    Another letter went to Stephen Joyce regarding the treatment of students, and the cutting of student allowances. It took SIX MONTHS to get a response, which could only be described as a list of lame excuses.

    I also got in contact with the The Human Rights Commission over both these issues. The results were shocking: In New Zealand the government is FULLY PERMITTED to abuse the population as much as they want as long as it is considered justifiable and done via policy. So, while a minister cannot take personal action against a group of people, it is fully legal for them to do it via proxy and use the government apparatus to hide their actions.

    This situation with someone going into a WINZ office and killing people was no surprise to me at all. To me it was ENTIRELY predictable given this type of environment, that this would happen and only a question of when. The fact that WINZ have been hiring security guards to watch over their offices when open, and that violent encounters have happened in the past at their offices made it simply a matter of time before it escalated to a situation where someone was killed. The really sad thing is that if the WINZ culture and government policies do not change, it is entirely predictable that it will happen again.

    • “force them to pay monthly visits to an office”, most people with a job, have to show up daily.
      Social welfare is meant to be a safetynet, not a lifestyle.
      There is NO good reason why someone should start shooting.

      • I think you will find that the full statement was: “What other group could policies be bought in to force them to pay monthly visits to an office that makes the pretence of trying to help them, while simultaneously having an abuse culture that is well documented (and goes back more than 10 years)?”

        If a New Zealand employer treated their employees in the same way that WINZ treats beneficiaries they would be risking legal action for abusive behaviour. Examples such as sending threatening letters to individuals saying that they are facing their benefit being cut because they have not met their work obligations TWO WEEKS after they went onto a benefit, or Case Managers refusing to see people who are 5 minutes late to an appointment, but making them wait for 50 minutes when they arrive on time are happening frequently. In addition WINZ has the policy of lying to their clients by not revealing what help is available.

        Do employers do these sorts of things and get away with them? There are laws in New Zealand to make sure that employers are not allowed to treat their workers like this (though I will concede that many NZ employers are shockingly bad, and fraud is rampant in NZ).

        I think it is pretty safe to say that most people will object to attending an appointment anywhere, if they know that there is a high chance that they will get abused. And, abuse and harassment is exactly what WINZ is all about.

  4. A little bit of background to what the guy was facing:

    Still searching for a home (First published August 18)

    An Ashburton man who remains homeless after two weeks says he is taking his search for housing out in to the political arena, with his plight headed to Winston Peters.

    Russell John Tully, known as John, has no accommodation after a falling out with a flatmate.

    He featured in the Guardian on August 9, 2014 after he became frustrated at the lack of accommodation available in town for people in his situation. As a plea for help he pitched a tent in the Ashburton Domain.

    Since then Mr Tully said he had become aware of at least one Housing New Zealand property in town he believed was untenanted. He said he had spoken to the neighbours.

    However Housing New Zealand said the property in question was tenanted.

    All of their 186 properties had, or were about to be, tenanted – there were three that had undergone scheduled maintenance.

    Mr Tully said he had kept in touch with HNZ, contacted WINZ, mayor Angus McKay and Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew’s office for assistance. But two weeks on he was no further ahead.

    Mr Tully was sleeping in his car but sold it to access money. He believed his treatment in town warranted further inspection and intended to get Winston Peters investigating.

    It was a frustrating situation for Mr Tully who moved back to Ashburton following a career in the Australian mines.

    The 48-year-old had “come home to die” from an unidentified skin disease which caused boil-type lumps if untreated and tightened the joints causing limited movement. It was likely to worsen.

    It had placed him on a disability benefit and saw him turn to Ashburton’s social agencies, who had supported him.

    Of course, the other interesting thing, is that the person requesting assistance is a man.
    Perhaps, that is why he was assessed differently, in such an open, caring, non-gendered country /sarcasm

    • No one wants to talk about these things, but almost 100% of homeless people in Western countries are men. Around 98% or workplace deaths are men. Close to 50% of domestic violence victims are men (the female based domestic violence shelter industry deliberately manipulates the figures to get funding), Around 80% of suicides are men, the majority of violent crime victims are men, and in many countries the majority of rape victims are also men (once prison rape is included in the statistics).

      Despite all this it is WOMEN who enjoy greater legal protection, even in areas where they do NOT represent the primary victims, violence is a classic example. where the White Ribbon campaign EXCLUSIVELY focuses on stopping violence against women, while simultaneously ignoring violence against everyone else. Go to any police station in New Zealand and you will see a bold sign that states that violence against women will not be tolerated, but it seems that it is completely accepted if it is against men. The bias is even seen in jail sentences. where women regularly receive 1/3 of the jail time of a man for the equivalent crime, or are not charged at all.

      The general attitude is that women are always the victim, and men are always perpetrators, which is blatantly false. Many crimes (such as rape) don’t even have provisions in the law to charge a woman (as was seen in a case earlier this year in New Zealand when a woman was discovered to have multiple counts of rape against a schoolboy). Other examples such as paternity fraud are so routine they are completely ignored (it is generally thought that at least 10% of birth certificates in New Zealand have the wrong father on them due to this type of fraud (It is considered perfectly acceptable in New Zealand for the government to spend thousands of dollars on a woman for maternity care, but totally unacceptable to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a paternity test to make sure the right father is on the birth certificate). In addition domestic shelters for men only exist in a few places (despite some valiant efforts to set them up with ZERO funding and government backing), and most of the time in domestic violence situations where men are the victims they will end up getting charged as the perpetrator.

      I’ve only scratched the surface on how deep the problem goes, but as I started by saying, no one wants to talk about these things, or even admit that there are major problems in the way men are being treated. But, like most Western countries New Zealand is blatantly anti-male, and this alone is a good reason for men to stay away, or leave (more men leave New Zealand than women, and the man-drought is very real).

  5. It’s very necessary to record interactions with many of these social workers or “disbursers of government assistance”.
    Because many of them, work to a Key Performance Indicator, that if they can brush off, ignore or disbar people from assistance,
    they are saving their department and country money (and can expect a promotion).
    It looks like New Zealand is becoming really capitalist (oh, the irony), that “unless you turn a profit, expect to be treated as disposable”.
    It’s too bad statistics don’t exist to show how many people were driven to death by having requests for help denied. In this way (some hyperbole follows), the Khmer Rouge may learn something from WINZ …

    • WINZ have a policy of NOT telling you what kind of assistance they can give you, and only providing it if you ask. So, in other words, not only is the culture abusive, it is also based on dishonesty (lying by omission).

      There are many people out there who have found themselves in situations far worse than they need to be simply because the workers at WINZ didn’t reveal how they could help them eg. People who have gone a week without food, because the WINZ worker didn’t tell them they could get a food grant.

    • I’ve observed that when people start their own business, they get a lot of stick from deadbeats because the business-starter “has no boss that the deadbeat can complain to, to avoid paying”.
      That’s why I recommend that independent contractors anywhere (heck, even employees given the reality that labour laws, even if they come in your favour, will leave a mark against your reputation) … extensively use recording devices to catch such misbehaviour.
      Because even if the courts won’t deliver justice (it is called the legal system, not the justice system) … you can sort out those people by giving them a place on Youtube.

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