The Featherston Work and Income office will remain closed permanently, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has confirmed.

The Winz office was based in the Featherston Community Centre and opened two days a week but closed its doors to clients more than 18 months ago.

It was one of 29 satellite offices in New Zealand that shut in a security review after the fatal shootings which took place in the Ashburton Winz offices in September 2014.

Featherston Community Centre board chairwoman Emily Greenberg was "saddened" by the decision, saying the permanent closure would put people in South Wairarapa at a disadvantage.


"Now everyone will have to travel to Masterton to speak to a real person.

"This will especially inconvenience those who don't drive, including many of our pensioners, the disabled and other vulnerable people."

South Wairarapa clients have been using Winz's online and phone services to manage their affairs since the office closed.

When meetings have been needed, clients have been required to travel to the Wairarapa Community Link in Masterton.

"Locating key resources in the town which is located at the extreme northern boundary of the province will negatively impact people living in the Carterton and South Wairarapa districts," Ms Greenberg said.

MSD made the decision to permanently close the Featherston office after a review which looked at "the effectiveness of the alternative service" that has been provided for the last 18 months.

Through the online services clients have 24/7 access to their payment information, they can change appointments and alert MSD about changes to their wages.

MSD also said the Featherston satellite service had "managed low volumes of transactions".

Featherston Community Board chairwoman Lee Carter said the fact Winz services were still accessible to clients in the 18-month period since the Featherston office closed "means that the satellite service probably wasn't the most effective".

"There is a real need to provide what is best suited to the customer and it seems in this case technology prevails. It's good to see that provision is still being made for face-to-face meetings."