New Plymouth's Work and Income office was temporarily closed today after a man allegedly threatened staff over the phone.
Sergeant Bruce Irvine said police were questioning the man, who had become angry with staff over the phone.
The man said something along the lines of "I see now why people come in and shoot you guys", Irvine said.
Irvine said the man had not been serious but in light of the shooting in Ashburton, staff took the comment seriously.
"Staff are probably a little bit on edge today as you'd imagine," Irvine said.
He said it wasn't uncommon for people to get riled up over the phone to Work and Income, as they did with police.
Harry Harris, 62, waited outside the closed office for his appointment.
"Nobody here is telling anybody what's going on, there's just a security guard waving his arms.
"It's like they're under siege."
The office on Gill St was closed for about an hour about 1.20pm but has now reopened.
- Taranaki Daily News