A Hastings man is to appear in court today after he allegedly threatened a Work and Income employee with a knife.

The incident was reported just hours after a balaclava-clad man shot two people dead in an Ashburton Work and Income office yesterday.

A police spokeswoman said that in a separate incident, a 38-year-old Hastings man was arrested after an employee at the Hastings Work and Income office was threatened yesterday afternoon. Police were called to the office on Heretaunga St West at 3.20pm, after a man was overheard making threats to staff.

Armed police arrested a man within 10 minutes. He was allegedly found to have a knife. He is in police custody and is to appear in Hastings District Court today.

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He has been charged with possession of a knife.

Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson said given the shooting in Ashburton yesterday, police took the incident at the Hastings Winz office seriously.

"Hawke's Bay police were very mindful of the tragedy that had occurred at the Ashburton Winz office earlier in the day and responded as soon as Hastings Winz staff alerted them to a possible incident," Mr Dobson said.

"Any threats or perceived threats are taken very seriously."

A gunman caused Ashburton to be placed in lockdown for much of the day.

Police arrested John Henry Tully about 5.35pm on a farm near the town.

The region has been affected by violence at its Winz offices in the past.

The incidents in Ashburton and Hastings come after a 33-year-old man drove a car through the front window of the Flaxmere Winz office in 2001.

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The offender, who had been drinking and set his house on fire with petrol earlier that day, attacked computers and furniture in what was said to be the worst attack on the agency up to that date.

He was charged with five offences.