Police called on beneficiaries seeking entitlements

Police called on beneficiaries seeking entitlements

Beneficiaries have been threatened with trespass notices as they wait in line outside a south Auckland Work and Income (WINZ) office.

Police have been called the past two weeks after more than 60 people allegedly threatened staff.

Every Friday morning for the past six weeks, there's been an unusually long line outside the Clendon Work and Income office.

That's because Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) has started helping beneficiaries there get what they are entitled to - but their presence has caused a stir.

"The staff of the Ministry of Social Development are intimidated by the behaviour of the crowd here," police told Newshub.

Last Friday police were called and people were threatened with trespass notices.

"They were telling us our mere presence was intimidating WINZ staff, and I find that bizarre," AAAP advocacy coordinator Alastair Russell said.

Mr Russell says all they are doing is helping those most in need get what they deserve.

"We are here getting people what they're entitled to - if that's intimidation, then we are intimidating them and we will do that unapologetically."

Beneficiaries Newshub spoke to say the group have been a lifesaver, and that's why so many people now turn up.

In footage supplied by the advocacy group, a Work and Income staff member can be heard speaking with police about removing those they're supposed to be helping.

The Ministry of Social Development denies any of its staff called the police, and say they are happy to work with the group.

The building is part of the Clendon Shopping Centre, which says the advocacy group is a nuisance, and it's had to hire extra security.

"We could send 'them a bill for the extra money it's costing us - I don't know if they'd like that," the shopping centre's assistant manager Alan Petersen said.

Mr Russell says he finds that assertion "bizarre" and "laughable".

They'll not be deterred, and plan on returning to Clendon Shopping Centre every Friday until Christmas.