'We say it's only a matter of time' - London apartment fire horror could happen in NZ, says expert

The president of New Zealand’s top building watchdog has warned it’s "only a matter of time" before a catastrophe like the London apartment block fire happens here.

Speaking on TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Home Owners and Builders Association (HOBANZ) president John Gray said shoddy fire safety building practices by developers, and “willful blindness” from certifiers in approving them, is widespread in New Zealand.

"We have to get to the bottom of whether this cladding has been installed on New Zealand buildings, and it would be of grave concern if it was," Gray said.

"The safety and welfare of those that occupy these buildings is at risk and we’ve already seen some fires in high rise buildings in Auckland in recent times.

"We say that it’s only a matter of time that something will take hold in one of these buildings and potentially cause loss of life."

Gray said his knowledge of the poor fire safety standard of New Zealand buildings has only been discovered during the course of doing remedial work on leaky buildings around the country.

"That’s the only way we’ve been able to discover that these problems exist," he said.

"It’s a one hundred per cent hit rate in terms of the large terraced housing and the large apartment buildings that we have been assisting owners to actually remediate.

"It is gravely concerning to us and we need to know, because clearly a 100 per cent hit rate would indicate that a very high percentage of other buildings built from early 90’s through to as late as 2012 are potentially at risk."


HOBANZ president John Gray says he's aware of life-threatening defects like a lack of fire walls and fire-retardant buildings. Source: 1 NEWS

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Fatal crash on State Highway One, near Puhoi north of Auckland, blocks road

State Highway One near Puhoi, north of Auckland, is blocked after a fatal crash involving a truck and a car.

Emergency services were called to the crash involving one truck and two vehicles at approximately 10.06am this morning near Mahurangi West Road.

Police say one person has died at the scene and three other people have been injured, two seriously.

State Highway One is completely blocked and diversions are being put in place at Warkworth and Silverdale.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible or to use State Highway 16.


Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

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Princess Eugenie's wedding set to be less of a global spectacle than Prince Harry's, more of a family affair

It's time for another royal wedding at Windsor Castle — but this time it's less of a global TV spectacle and more of a family affair.

Despite large signs at the castle's ticket booth welcoming people to the wedding, many visitors seem unaware that Princess Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, will marry tequila company executive James Brooksbank at 11pm tonight NZT.

Princess Eugenie is the 28-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and ninth in line for the throne. She has lived most of her life outside the media spotlight, and keeps a low profile compared to cousins Prince William and Prince Harry and their glamorous wives.

1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid has the latest ahead of the big day in Windsor, England. Source: Breakfast

That's reflected in the souvenir shops that line the streets leading to the imposing castle. Royal wedding merchandise fill the windows — but they feature Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who also married at Windsor Castle in May in a spectacular, globally televised ceremony.

Snippets of the wedding will be shown on British TV, but only one channel, ITV, is planning to provide live coverage of the proceedings.

Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank are following a precedent set by Prince Harry and Meghan by inviting 1,200 members of the public to the castle grounds for a better view of the festivities.

Mr Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie have dated for many years. The couple says he got down on one knee and proposed in January during a trip to Nicaragua while the couple was visiting a spectacular lake next to a volcano.

FILE - In this Saturday, May 20, 2017 file photo, Britain's Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank arrive for the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews at St Mark's Church in Englefield, England. Buckingham Palace said Sunday Oct. 7, 2018 there will be military fanfare and red velvet cake when Princess Eugenie marries drinks-company executive Jack Brooksbank on Friday in Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
Princess Eugenie marries drinks-company executive Jack Brooksbank on Friday in Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. Source: Associated Press

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Interisland ferry sailings cancelled due to big swells and wind

The Interislander and Bluebridge ferries have both cancelled sailings today due to strong southerly winds and big swells.

Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries wrote on their Facebook page that the forecast poor weather has arrived.

"We've cancelled our passenger sailings this afternoon and this evening," they said.

Interislander information available online showed that seven sailings between the Kaiarahi, the Aratere and the Kaitaki ferries had been cancelled today.

Affected travellers should visit the websites of either Bluebridge or Interislander for information.

MetService reports that the southerly wind in Wellington is averaging about 43km/h and gusts of up to 120km/h are expected in exposed places for the rest of the day.

A Severe Weather Warning is in place for the region, as well as for Marlborough.

Cook Strait ferries cross paths.
Cook Strait ferries cross paths. Source: 1 NEWS


New video shows Auckland pub patrons trying to fight off masked shotgun-wielding thugs

CCTV footage has been released of a violent confrontation between shotgun-wielding robbers and pub patrons on Auckland's North Shore.

Birkenhead's Good Home pub was robbed by two masked men on August 25, and police made an appeal on TVNZ1's Police Ten 7 programme for the public's help in finding them.

The show featured newly-released video of the incident, during which the two men entered and fired two warning shots into the ceiling when patrons tried to stop them.

One man can be seen trying to get close to one of the robbers, despite a shotgun being pointed at his face, before the robber fires into the ceiling and kicks the man hard, sending him to the ground.

Another person also tries to intervene with a bar stool, but is subdued.

A third suspect was waiting outside in the car when the two emerged and the pair escaped in a stolen white Subaru Impreza with cash.

Police say that car was found dumped on Roseberry Ave 30 minutes later, and another car is believed to have been used, possibly a light blue or grey sedan.

One of the people from the bar was featured on Ten 7, and said the robbery had caused "a lot of anxiety and nightmares" for staff.

"I didn't realise until I was face-to-face with them ... it all kind of set in when I had to give them the money," she said.

Anyone with information can contact Police Ten 7's hotline on 0800 107 4636, citing case number four, or information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.