'Disappointed and infuriated' crowds enraged at $100,000 giveaway in Auckland

An online retailer has been criticised for misleading crowds during a publicity stunt held in Auckland's Aotea Square. 

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Participants surrounded the Safety Warehouse staff car, demanding the real money as promised. Source: Supplied

By Brooke Hunter

Hundreds lined up for hours outside the event on the promise they'd be taking away a share of the $100,000 cash give away hosted by the Safety Warehouse. 

Peter Pippen told 1 NEWS he'd taken the morning off work to attend the event with his brother.

But he says as soon as participants realised that some of the money dropped wasn't real, the situation got heated. 

Members of the crowd started yelling at the staff and a Safety Warehouse car was attacked by frustrated participants.

Inspector Gary Davey, Police Area Commander for Auckland City Central confirmed they were notified about the event late yesterday and were stationed at the event as a precaution.

The discount vouchers were made to look like $5 notes. Source: Supplied

However, after "a number of reports of disorder" at the square today, extra officers were brought in to control the crowds. 

On the company's website, $100,000 in actual money was promised to be dropped in to the crowd. 

"We are the peoples company & proud of it, so we're dropping 100,000K in value from the sky in Aotea Square, at 12pm on Saturday the 5th. Yes, ACTUAL MONEY will be flying from the sky," the Safety Warehouse posted on their website. 

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However, according to Pippen, many of the notes released were discount codes for Safety Warehouse products with a one month expiry.

"Someone I knew there said he'd got $250 but it's all fake and you have to spend with them to get anything. That's when I decided to check mine which were all discount codes and realised, this isn't real. It's a bit of a scam." 

Another attendee, Dezrae Rose, says many were left "disappointed and infuriated" by the stunt, with some having travelled from other areas of the country on the promise of real cash. 

"They should have had real money, not a discount code, or had something different advertised," she says. 

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez labelled the event 'disgusting' saying the company were "taking advantage of inequality and poverty to do a PR stunt." 

"It makes me sick to know the community was taken advantage by the Safety Warehouse and that people were put at risk," he wrote on Twitter today.

The Safety Warehouse has been contacted by 1 NEWS for comment.