WELLINGTON (dpa) – A 60-year-old man was being held by New Zealand police Thursday, accused of driving a van into government welfare offices on the South Island and attempting to set the building alight, police said.
Police and the fire services were called to the Work and Income (WINZ) building in the town of Blenheim shortly after 5am (1600 GMT Thursday) after a van was seen crashing through the front doors.
A fire started soon afterwards was easily contained, police said.
The suspect was taken to a mental assessment facility in Nelson and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday on charges of arson and burglary, Radio New Zealand said.
There has been a spate of incidents reported at government-run WINZ offices across New Zealand, the most serious in September 2013 in the town of Ashburton, when a gunman shot two people dead and seriously wounded two others.
The suspect, Russell John Tully, is awaiting trial on charges including murder and possession of firearms.