Stats NZ to move out of Auckland office amid safety concerns

Employees report 'antisocial behaviour' incidents in area

Stats NZ to move out of Auckland office amid safety concerns

Statistics New Zealand is leaving its office in Auckland Central amid employees' safety concerns in the area, according to reports.

The New Zealand Herald reported that the agency will not renew its lease when it expires by year-end.

This was later confirmed to the news outlet, with the agency attributing its decision to numerous reports from team members who have "felt uncomfortable and even unsafe" around their Auckland office.

Incidents reported were mainly related to "antisocial behaviour" in the street, such as intoxication and calling out to staff, according to the agency. This has left some of the employees there feeling "uncomfortable, unsafe, intimidated or upset."

"We take that seriously - the health and safety of our people is a priority," the agency said as quoted by the Herald.

Some of the steps taken by the organisation to ensure workers' safety include appointing a security guard, according to the report.

In the agency's email to employees, as seen by the Herald, there was also "no expectation" from Stats NZ leadership for employees to come on-site if they feel uncomfortable.

Worker safety must be prioritised

Meanwhile, the Public Service Association (PSA) said they are "pleased" that Stats NZ is taking employees' concerns seriously.

PSA assistant secretary Fleur Fitzsimons said they have also been receiving concerns from Stats NZ employees, and it was important for the agency to keep its employees safe.

"Worker safety must be the top priority for all employers including Stats New Zealand, and we're working with them to support staff there, and to make sure appropriate steps are being taken," Fitzsimons said as quoted by Radio New Zealand.

Stats NZ is currently residing at the Greys Avenue building in Auckland.

The chief executive of the Heart of the City, the business association for Auckland's city centre, said they were disappointed by the ongoing situation.

"We want people to be safe here and to feel safe, and to come and work, and live, and all of those things in a safe environment, so, very disappointing," said chief executive Viv Beck as quoted by RNZ.

According to Beck, they have been asking for additional support to ensure the safety of employees.

"We do need to see that additional support in terms of increased visibility of police, downtown police station, better management of housing, and specialist addiction, mental health services for people who need it," Beck said.

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