Former Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn an outraged response after saying the Government's "brutal policies" led to today's attack on Ashburton Work and Income staff.
Ms Bradford, a life-long unemployment activist who now lectures in social practice at Unitec, tweeted: "Shocking news coming in of Work & Income shooting: awful, but a risk when office becomes front for brutal policies."
Internet Party Kelston candidate Roshni Sami tweeted in support: "Nats brag that 1600 people p/w move off welfare into jobs, in reality they're pushed off welfare into hardship. Shame!"
But a string of other people following Ms Bradford on Twitter attacked her for the original comment.
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"Not appropriate Sue. Of all people you should know that," tweeted Auckland psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald.
Media monitoring worker Regan Gibbons tweeted, "Really Sue, you couldn't give it a day before politicising this tragedy?"
Others described the tweet as "a sick comment", "a total disgrace" and "disgusting." One tweeted: "You are an opportunistic, moralising windbag."
Ms Bradford said she sent out the tweet - which has since been deleted - before knowing that two people had been killed and her sympathies were with the workers who died.
But she said she saw the problems with Work and Income first-hand when she joined other welfare advocates who were overwhelmed by queues of hundreds of beneficiaries seeking help on a three-day "impact" outside Work and Income's Mangere office last month, which placed the Ashburton killings in context.
"It was a terrible tragedy," she said. "But when a Government runs brutal policies that get worse and worse, including what we saw on our Impact just a few weeks ago, that is a risk that the Government takes with its frontline staff."
OK folks, can feel yr anger - a) tweet was b4 I knew anyone was killed; b)all workers should come home safe; c) apols to those offended