'It's not his fault' - son of dog handler speaks out after companion Grizz shot dead at Auckland Airport

A relative of the man who was handling the dog shot at Auckland Airport this morning has spoken out, saying the incident was a "tragic accident".

Noel Thorburn was handling Grizz at the border early this morning when the canine escaped onto the airfield.

Forget the review, don’t shoot the dog, says the Breakfast host. Source: Breakfast

After a three hour chase, police were controversially ordered to shoot the dog.

The dog had been training with the Aviation Security Service at Auckland Airport, and was just six months away from graduating.

Speaking about his father Noel, Nicky Thorburn says people need to understand that Grizz's death was a tragic accident.

Passengers at Auckland Airport weigh in on this morning’s controversial decision to shoot the airport security dog. Source: 1 NEWS

"He has over 30 years experience with dogs and they are his passion. His job is to serve and protect our airport and people are disrespecting him for that" he said.

Nicky says his father is loved by his collegues at customs, and he wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone a dog.

The dog was a border collie and german shorthair pointer cross.

Earlier AVSEC spokesperson Mike Richards told 1 NEWS that Grizz slipped his handler at around 4.30am today.

After several hours trying to capture the canine in the dark, airport authorities made the decision for police to shoot the dog.

Grizz was not on the tarmac when it was shot.

Mr Richards he said security staff had pursued all avenues and unfortunately shooting the canine was the last option.

He said despite the public outcry, their first priority was comforting staff and they would not be speaking publicly.

When approached for comment, Auckland Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said teams had no other options.

She said she was shocked and saddened by the incident.

Auckland Airport said on Twitter that travellers were experiencing delays, as the incident had grounded 16 flights.

Avsec will undertake a review of the incident to try and ascertain what spooked the dog and if this has any implications for ongoing training.


Attempts to catch Grizz were fruitless, forcing authorities to use deadly force. Source: 1 NEWS


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Colin Craig, Rachel MacGregor return to court in defamation action

Colin Craig and Rachel MacGregor are back at the High Court in Auckland.

The former Conservative Party leader and his press secretary are suing each other for defamation.

MacGregor had been employed by the party prior to the 2011 election but resigned just days before the 2014 election.

She filed a sexual harassment complaint against Craig, and the pair reached an out of court settlement which included a confidentiality agreement.

The Human Rights Tribunal ordered Craig to pay MacGregor $120,000 after it ruled that he had breached the agreement by talking about her in media interviews.

Craig then filed defamation proceedings against MacGregor and she responded with a counter claim.

The trial has been set down for two weeks.

The former Conservative Party leader says that defending a defamation case taken against him is all about protecting his reputation.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Christchurch house-hunters warned not to rely on seller's building reports

A warning has gone out to house hunters in Christchurch not to rely on building reports supplied by those selling homes.

For sale sign outside of house. Source: 1 NEWS

In April the Earthquake Commision (EQC) admitted the cost of fixing botched repairs had hit $270 million and was likely to continue increasing as further problems were identified.

Legal experts said the potential hidden damage meant house hunters should get homes thoroughly checked, now more important than ever.

On the day RNZ visited a Harcourts auction in Christchurch, John Stowell was nervously waiting for bidding to start on what could be his family's dream home.

"You're either going to get a house in half an hour, or you're not."

The home he was bidding on had repairs done to its foundations thanks to a payout from EQC.

Mr Stowell had two weeks to get all of the necessary checks done and on this occasion had decided to rely on the building inspection the seller had made available on the property.

"Otherwise we had to go and get our own building reports done which is a cost factor. You know it's up to $500 depending."

Christchurch property lawyer and chair of the Law Society's property law section, Duncan Terris, said Mr Stowell could end up in trouble if he found problems with the house and tried to sue the building inspector.

"If you're buying at auction and you're relying on a building report that was commissioned by that current owner and there's a subsequent problem, you've got limited rights of recourse against the person that did that inspection report because it must be commissioned by you."

Trying to save on the cost of building inspections was a false economy, he said.

"The irony is everyone is out to cost save, understandably, but it needs to be kept in perspective.

"If you miss something and you have to front the repairs yourself, that could be a very expensive oversight."

Prominent earthquake claims lawyer Peter Woods said the sheer number of botched EQC repairs - about 11,000 - meant extra checks to hunt out defective repairs or undiagnosed damage were essential.

He recommended hiring a structural engineer, costing upwards of about $4000.

"And it is very hard for any inspector to look at the house because a purchaser can't have an inspector do some invasive testing, you can't start taking samples out of the house. They can only be as good as a visual inspection. So it's difficult."

The experience with leaky homes showed the risk was not just theoretical, he said.

"There's no end of inspectors that were sued as part of the leaky homes crisis. I think we're now in a creaky homes crisis and the same thing is likely to happen."

Those who had ended up with a lemon and had then found their insurer unwilling to cover the cost of fixing their quake damage, would want to watch out for a Supreme Court test case against the country's largest insurer, IAG in November.

If it finds in favour of the claimant, insurers across the board could be forced to pay out for quake damage discovered by the subsequent purchaser of a home.

- By Conan Young

rnz.co.nz 


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Parts of South Island to get snow, cold snap moving up country

Rain and snow is expected in the South Island later today, as a cold snap moves up the country.

MetService forecaster Peter Little said snow was expected to start falling this afternoon and evening, and fall to 400m.

Otago and South Canterbury are forecast to get heavy rain which will become snow at high elevations.

Check the forecast in your region on the 1 NEWS NOW weather page

The latest cold snap comes just a week after heavy snowfall in Central Otago shut roads and cut power to hundreds.

Northern parts of the Canterbury high country and the Kaikōura coast are likely to be more affected by the snow.

"Down in the south, it's still going to be bitterly cold, places like Southland, Clutha.

"But perhaps they might not see quite as much snow as we would have been thinking before, just because everything has moved slightly further north."

In the North Island a few showers are expected but the cold weather doesn't arrive until tomorrow.

"It's looking like a windier, sort of showery day tomorrow and also we'll see that snow level come down and likely affect the central North Island, including the Desert Road."

The cold weather and strong winds were expected to remain until Thursday, Mr Little said.

- rnz.co.nz

Bridesdale Queenstown. Source: Kate Tonks