Exclusive: 'We've all got good things in us' - First young prisoners complete Duke of Edunburgh award

It has never happened in our prisons before, but 1 NEWS has been given exclusive access to follow the journey of young inmates as they complete the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award from behind bars.

They're under lock and key for 24 hours a day, but still they've managed to clock up 200 hours of community service, physical activity, and they even went camping beyond the wire but within the confines of Christchurch Men's Prison grounds.

Young prison inmates take part in the Duke of Edunburgh programme. Source: 1 NEWS

"We're very excited about it, it's the first in the country, eight have graduated so far," said Assistant prison director Pablo Godoy.

1 NEWS can't identify the inmates we spoke to, but one teenager who has been jailed for three years for burglary said, "It feels good, you know. I might be a criminal but you know we've all got good things in us."

He started taking drugs at the age of 12 and sees the Duke of Edinburgh programme as a way to turn his life around.

He has done community service, painting the visitors room in the Youth Unit, and says running at 6am around the prison perimeter fence every morning helps him let out his emotions.

"It's pretty hard, I cry almost every day, but you've just got to deal with it"

The inmates have just been presented with their Bronze badges and certificates, to the applause of their families.

The inmate told us: "Feels good to show family. Like, they're not proud you're here, but just proud getting on with your time and learning new skills."

Mr Godoy said: "These youth that come to us have so much more to give, it's just they don't recognise it in themselves. And for us it's to help them understand and see what they're capable of."

Young prison inmates run as part of the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Source: 1 NEWS

More youth inmates will complete their Duke of Edinburgh over the coming months, but some have to run in jandals as Corrections can't provide them with running shoes, so any donations of shoes would be gratefully accepted.

Eight prisoners have completed their award as part of their rehabilitation. Source: 1 NEWS

Renters to foot bill for doggy doo damage in proposed law change

The government is looking at a law change after a tenant's dog used a Foxton house as a toilet despite a no-pets clause, and the clean-up cost fell on the landlord.

Housing Minister Nick Smith today flagged amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act.

In August, the Tenancy Tribunal ruled Amanda Stewart was not liable for the damage caused by her dog to her Foxton rental, despite there being a no-pets clause.

That was because under the Act she was immune as the damage wasn't intentional or criminal and the landlord could recover it through insurance.

The landlord, David Russ, is intending to appeal the decision, Fairfax has reported.

Dr Smith says the decision is creating uncertainty for landlords and tenants across the country, where there are 450,000 tenanted properties.

"The latest court rulings mean landlords cannot recover the costs of this damage where they have insurance, including for their costs such as the excess," he said.

"The problem with this approach is that it reduces the incentive for tenants to take good care of the property they rent. It also reduces the landlord's incentive to have insurance as it lessens tenants' responsibilities."

It could also add to the overall costs of the residential sector, driving up insurance costs and rents, Dr Smith said.

"However, we do not wish to return to the situation where tenants may be sued by their landlord's insurance company for hundreds of thousands of dollars, such as with an accidental house fire."

Dr Smith said he was looking at a model where tenants would be liable for damage caused by carelessness or negligence up to the value of their landlord's insurance excess but not exceeding four weeks' rent - the equivalent of the bond.

Tenants would remain fully liable for intentional or criminal damage.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will start consultation with tenant and landlord organisations, and the insurance sector, on possible amendments.

A fox terrier. Photo / iStock


Dog comes to the rescue of owner stuck after Waikato crash

A man's dog has raised the alarm with neighbours after they both spent the night in the wreckage of a crashed car in a steep Waikato paddock.

The man lost control of his car on the road to Kawhia late last night, went through a fence and rolled several times before coming to rest after about 100 metres.

The 55-year-old, who suffered leg and hip injuries, was rescued by the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter this morning. 

"Initially he attempted to make his way back up to the road, but with his injuries and the wet, steep terrain he got back into the car to wait out the night," a spokesperson said in a statement. 

"Apparently his dog assisted in raising the alarm at a nearby residence this morning."

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter
The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Source: Supplied