Staff at earthquake repair hubs are dealing with threats several times a week as frustrated Cantabrians vent their anger.
So far this year, 130 incidents - including threats to kill - have been recorded and some staff are quitting their jobs because of the abuse.
Police have been called to help 35 times since the end of April.
Fletcher EQR says threats have increased in recent months, which could be attributed to the winter.
A hub in Bishopdale was locked down on Thursday after a staff member was abused.
"Their work stopped and extra security was brought in and remains in place," Fletcher spokesman Barry Akers said yesterday. Police were notified.
He would not provide details of the incident.
However, it is understood threats of violence are common.
The Press has previously reported threats to blow up earthquake repair hubs and shoot staff.
"All threats are nasty. People have talked about guns and other things," Akers said.
"You name it, it's probably been said at some point."
Akers said only a "small fraction" of the 130 threats or incidents this year resulted in hubs being locked down.
He acknowledged people were stressed and frustrated in the wake of the earthquakes but he urged them to be patient.
"Everyone involved in the repair programme - homeowners, other occupants, contractors, their staff and Fletcher staff - is entitled to be safe. We take this very seriously and we will take whatever action is appropriate to meet our responsibilities," Akers said.
"We have no hesitation in closing a hub or a work site if the safety of staff, workers or customers is in question. Their safety is our first concern. Where a threat is made, we also notify the police."
Christchurch area commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said police treated the threats seriously.
"We're aware that some people may be feeling a degree of stress around the issues they're dealing with but it's not acceptable to resort to threats of violence."
Fletcher EQR has spent thousands of dollars on extra security to protect its 20 hubs and 700 staff after threats and verbal abuse from homeowners.
They have made fences and reception counters slightly higher, so people cannot jump over them easily, and put in exit doors for staff.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging