15 Sep 2014

Gisborne WINZ office tipped to close

10:27 am on 15 September 2014

A Work and Income office in one of Gisborne's poorest areas is set for closure, Labour MP Moana Mackey says.

Labour's East Coast candidate, Moana Mackey, said she has been told the office in suburban Kaiti would be closed.

The Ministry of Social Development said the lease at the Kaiti office was up for review but no final decision has been made.

It said beneficiaries could use its service in the city, 2km away and on a major bus route, if the office did close.

But Tai Rawhiti Beneficiary Trust co-ordinator Shelly Hannah-Kingi said that office was hard to get to.

"It's very hard to find parking for the disabled or the elderly, so I don't see how closing down the office rather than saving money is going to benefit anybody other than MSD," she said.

Beneficiary Tutu Ngarimu said if the Kaiti office closed it would disadvantage many elderly people.

"That would affect them straight away. You've got a lot of people here that just a simple act of just going into town to the proposed office in Gisborne central would be just a big, huge obstacle."

The community would protest the closure, Mr Ngarimu said.