‘Absolutely disgusted’: Auckland crowd outraged after Safety Warehouse ‘$100k cash drop’

An Auckland crowd turned angry after a safety equipment company advertised a $100,000 “cash drop” that included a “fake money” giveaway.

The Safety Warehouse, an online supplier of personal protective equipment, advertised on social media that it planned to give away “actual money” at Aotea Square from midday today.

“We are the people’s company & proud of it, so we’re dropping $105,891.40 in value from the sky in Aotea Square at 12pm on Saturday the 5th. Yes, ACTUAL MONEY will be flying from the sky,” it said.

People who attended the event have posted video of the crowd chasing after the company’s car in anger after what they said was fake money” being dropped instead.

“The crowd started attacking the organisers’ vehicle as it was trying to leave the venue.. i even saw a jandle and a safety boot in full flight … the crowd smashed the rear window,” one person posted.

But the director of GreenBack Capital, which owns the Safety Warehouse brand, Andrew Thorn, said the company did give away $100,000 in actual cash as well as “fake cash” that offered discounts on the company’s products such as hand sanitiser and face masks.

“It was $100,000 in real money, and the fake money discounts on top – I think that was $40,000 [fake money] notes that were printed,” he said.

Thorn said some of his staff were bruised when the crowd turned angry, and one man who was in the back seat of the car was taken to hospital after an object thrown through the back window scattered glass into his eyes. He did not yet know whether the injury to the man’s eyes was serious.

Thorn said he started the Safety Warehouse business before Covid-19 to supply workwear in Australia and New Zealand, but then moved into masks, hand sanitiser and other personal protective equipment when the pandemic started.

“We did really well through the Covid period supplying the Australia and NZ market and we simply felt like, why don’t we have an event and have a giveaway?”

He said all the “fake money” notes offered discounts for products that people could buy on the Safety Warehouse website.

“Some goods were free – enter a code and it was 100 per cent off. There was a range of things,” he said.

Green MP Ricardo Menendez March, who was attending an event across the road, tweeted that he was “absolutely disgusted with The Safety Warehouse”.

“It was a free event. People came with tickets,” he said.

“There was music. It was incredibly loud, it was almost like a rave.

“It was just like really bad scaffolding in Aotea Square, and people on top of it throwing confetti and glitter and eventually fake cash.

“There were people who had travelled from Palmerston North, from Levin, from up north, so things became really unsafe as the commotion started.”

He said people chased away the Safety Warehouse car as it left.

A Police spokeswoman confirmed that police were called.

“Late yesterday [Friday] Police became aware of a promotional event talking place in Aotea Square today,” she said.

“Police were in attendance for safety reasons.

“Following the event there were a number of reports of disorder in the Aotea Square area. Additional units were called to the scene to help ensure the safety of all those involved.

“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

The Safety Warehouse Facebook page was taken down after many people posted angry comments about the event.

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