Death in the Morning, Images of the Ashburton WINZ Office Shooter Released

ashburton shooter

Russell Tully in the WINZ office, Ashburton on the morning of 1 September 2014

Images of the Ashburton rampage have been released.

Russell John Tully walked into the Work and Income New Zealand offices in Ashburton on the morning of 1 September 2014 armed with a shotgun. He intended to shoot as many Work and Income staff as he could. He shot four female office workers.

Peggy Noble was “blasted out of her chair” when Tully fired into her chest. Then turned to shoot other people as they fled the building.

Tully was most dissatisfied with Leigh Cleveland, who he found at the read of the building. He shot her three times, killing her.

Lindy Curtis was hiding beneath her desk when Tully discharged his weapon seriously wounding her. She played dead to avoid a second shot.

Kim Adams was shot at as she ran out the back door. Tully threatened to shoot a fifth person, who didn’t work in the building, if he didn’t “back off”.

David Cooze’s account:

David Cooze said he went to the office to drop in a medical certificate. He was standing at the reception desk when someone came from the side, wearing a balaclava, and he then saw a gun.

The gunman had white skin visible through the balaclava. He raised the gun at the receptionist, Peggy Noble, and fired and he felt a slap on his face. He saw Noble “blown out of her chair”.

The gunman turned and went for the next worker. “I knew I had to get out of there,” Cooze said. He pushed the woman behind him in the queue towards the door and grabbed a security guard by the arm.

As he was going out the door he heard a second shot. “I knew another person had been shot.”

He then had the confrontation when he saw the gunman leave the building… read on

Security guard ran off

The security guard, who was supposed to be there to provide some measure of protection for staff “ran off” after seeing Ms Noble get shot. Neville Tahere only returned after seeing the gunman leave the premises. source

ashburton shooter A

Secret report: Ministry warned 2 years previously. ‘She’ll be right’

WorkSafe New Zealand later prosecuted the Ministry of Social Development for not protecting the safety of its employees at work. Two years previously It had been warned its open plan offices posed a risk to staff and left them open to public attacks.

A secret security report warned that Ministry of Social Development staff were vulnerable to public attacks two years before two people were shot dead at the Winz office in Ashburton.

The report, commissioned after an attack on an employee in 2012, warned that the ministry’s open-plan offices presented a risk to staff if someone entered with a gun or other weapon.

This wasn’t a freak accident, this was building up, this was coming,” a source familiar with the case said. source


Interestingly, an ‘independent’ review of the government department by a former police commissioner failed to find any problems. How did Rob Robinson fail to  pick up the warnings contained in a 2012 report carried out by an independent consultancy firm who’d visited the Ashburton office, in which the open plan layout had been criticized?  The 2012 report produced a ‘road-map’ for security improvements which was underway at the time of the shootings. WorkSafe was able to access and use that document it in their prosecution, so how did it get missed during the review?

An independent review last year, led by former Police Commissioner Rob Robinson, found there was nothing the ministry could have done to prevent the incident, but in March WorkSafe announced it was prosecuting the ministry for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees. source



10 thoughts on “Death in the Morning, Images of the Ashburton WINZ Office Shooter Released

  1. Winz has become very mystical and is deeply imbedded in our ancient Maori culture ,actually most white N.Zers will have a tough time at a WINZ office being treated like shit by Maori !Asian and Indian staff while trying to claim the pathetic benefits due to them ,bad place to be white ,you will witness the brown people 18 year old Mums etc getting a big hug from auntie while you get a big kick in the ass.

  2. It’s quite possible that the employement officer at Winz didn’t understand unarmed and accidently followed company policy and hired a one armed guy,they are not that smart at the WINZ office,they prefer to hire angry dumb ex beneficiaries like Paula Bennet who will follow the Kiwi tradition of feeling better about themselves when they get to fuck their fellow countrymen over in their time of need ,Maori excluded of course.

  3. I’ve always found if rather ironic how a lot of the security guards on the doors of those offices appear as if they have just done a work strategy course of moving into employment through the WINZ office itself. Of course if they where unarmed they wouldn’t stand a chance on those that have built up enough anger of jumping through the perpetual hoops of applying/reapplying for aid, on papers that have a hundred different headings all asking the same kind of questions. I even had the shock of seeing a one armed security officer, it looked like his arm had been amputated!! I was not sure weather to laugh or cry. Come on New Zealand i have heard of one armed paper hangers but in environments such as a government departments, security staff have to be ready for anything as this tragic story exposes.

  4. Since the shooting it seems all Winz offices now have unarmed security guards,maybe work safe should look into that one ,of course they’re all going to run away when someone pulls out a gun,well in the case of some of the guards I’ve seen they’ll waddle away .In the interest of safety maybe the Winz staff should consider being a little more empathetic and polite to their customers after all if you fed a stray dog for years then one day decided to stop feeding it the poor thing would be confused.Government policy of late is to make it as difficult as possible for people to access welfare and medical benefits and don’t appear to be offering any alternatives for people in need ,many provincial areas have no jobs and with the escalating housing costs it’s unrealistic to think that people can relocate to a city for employement.WINZ staff are on the front line bearing the full force of people’s anger and frustration at the abrupt change in government policy toward people seeking benefits.

    • I have worked at a WINZ branch here in Linwood, Christchurch, a few years ago via Armourguard Security. What a miserable experience that was. Angry people yelling at staff, hostile interactions, people having mental breakdowns because a payment didn’t go through or they were denied financial help (you hear every conversation), Maoris demanding to only speak to a maori member of staff etc etc. I worked there for 3 days and never went back. What a shithole.

      • If I was Maori I Would demand to speak to a Maori caseworker ,we could discuss how unfair everything is ,claim some ancient rights and then I’d be on my way with $500 bucks ,we are removing opportunities for N.Z people giving them no real employement choices and then denying them welfare ,as you say ,I recommend anyone go sit in a WINZ office for an hour and watch ,John Key is turning N.Z people into desperate folks ,people who are comfortable and occupied generally don’t commit crimes ,we are experiencing all time high levels of every kind of crime and the people of N.Z ,with good reason have lost respect for the government and the police ,Nanny state with the Nanny being a wolf.

    • New Zealand beneficiaries are now being described as some of the most abused individuals in the country, with the abuse coming from the very people who are supposed to be helping them – WINZ. This fits perfectly with the “kick them when they are down” attitude that is prevalent throughout New Zealand.

      It doesn’t surprise me at all what happened in Ashburton, and if things don’t change, it will happen again.

      • I agree Xavier. Reminds me of how I got treated at the job centre in UK. They don’t give a toss about finding you work, its all about circulating the benefits.Thats if you actually manage to get any. You get treated like aids when you have an appointment. The staff there remind me of recruitment consultants, just useless condescending wankers the lot of them.

        It’s such a bullshit economy out there. I’m still looking for a full time job. Getting to be an absolute joke now. Need a job to get a plane ticket out of here. I’ve resorted to listing my camera for sale online and a few other things.

        I went into WINZ years ago when on a holiday work visa and all I asked was if they could help me look for work. They were not interested in the slightest. Yet they were ‘keen as’ to help some loser scum bag talking to them like shit and abusing them.

        Theres just no jobs here in Christchurch. I suspect its the same all over NZ. People will tell you there are loads, but its a con. If you look on Trademe jobs all these so called employers want ‘experienced’ this and that, if you don’t tick all the boxes for some pathetic lame menial factory/sales/retail job a monkey could do, its tough titty and get stuffed.

        So residents resort to going into WINZ because what choice do they have? There are NO opportunities in New Zealand. Welcome to the dead end, kill yourself ‘haven’ that is New Zealand.

  5. If I was the security guard I would have legged it as well. What exactly was he supposed to do? Tackle a guy with a shotgun and risk getting his head blown off for minimum wage? Fuck that.

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