Bill English: 'There is no basis for an inquiry' into SAS raid in Afghanistan

The Government will not hold an inquiry into an SAS raid in Afghanistan in 2010 that allegedly left six civilians dead, Prime Minister Bill English has announced.

Mr Bill English says he has concluded there is no basis for ordering an inquiry following calls for one to reconcile differences between the accounts given by the authors of the book Hit and Run and the facts provided by the Defence Force Commander Lieutenant General Tim Keating.

Nicky Hager, who co-wrote the book with Jon Stephenson, responded to Mr English's decision by alleging it was "the result of military pressure on the government: the tail wagging the dog".

"Most of all, Bill English has just ensured that the issue will continue to boil and fester. It is not going to go away until it is properly addressed," he said.

Bill English says 'no evidence has been presented' of civilian casualties in a 2010 operation. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr English said he was today given a detailed briefing by Lieutenant General Keating and a number of other senior officers about the raid.

"After considering Lieutenant General Keating's briefing, his letter to Mr Brownlee and viewing video footage of the operation, I have concluded there is no basis for ordering an inquiry," Mr English said.

Bill English says he's reviewed the evidence, including watching a video. Source: 1 NEWS

On Friday, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee had received a detailed letter from Mr Keating stating that he had received all the documentation available about the operation.

"Lieutenant General Keating has informed Mr Brownlee that the material clearly shows personnel involved in the operation took deliberate and careful steps to ensure that it was conducted according to the law of armed conflict," Mr English said.

"It also shows the operation was overseen by a Defence Force legal officer and that personnel took all feasible precautions to minimise potential civilian casualties and the destruction of property.

"At the same time, scrutiny has revealed some significant errors in the book including the book's authors now acknowledging that they got the location of the operation wrong.

"It did not take place in the two villages they provided geo references for in their book but at a different location about two kilometres away."

Mr English said should evidence emerge in the future that New Zealand troops acted unlawfully, "the government would of course take every step to establish the truth".

The raid followed the death of Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell while on patrol days earlier that month, leading to accusations that the raid was simply conducted for revenge.

A detailed rebuttal of the book's claims was made by the Defence Force last Monday.

An inquiry has been ruled out into claims made against the SAS in Afghanistan in the 'Hit & Run' book. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Keating said then that while the NZDF has acknowledged there may have been some civilian casualties, none were confirmed, and that there were nine insurgents killed during the raid, not six civilians.

The raids took place in the village of Tirgiran, not in Naik and Khak Khuday Dad two kilometres away as alleged in the book, the NZDF said.



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No warning signs before five bodies found dead in Perth home, relatives say - 'Part of me didn't think it was real'

A Perth father accused of murdering his three daughters, wife and mother-in-law showed no warning signs that his family was in danger and their deaths are unfathomable, relatives say.

Anthony Robert Harvey, 24, allegedly used a blunt instrument and knives to kill three-year-old Charlotte, two-year-old twins Alice and Beatrix, his wife Mara Lee Harvey, 41, and mother-in-law Beverley Ann Quinn, 73, at a Bedford home in Perth.

Brother-in-law Alan Tottman yesterday said that there was never any indication Ms Harvey was in danger.

"It's just a very raw time, it's just unfathomable," he said.

"We can't come to terms with what's happened, we don't know why it's happened.

"There was no indication of trouble, problems."

Harvey, who ran a Jim's Mowing franchise, gave no hint of financial or emotional problems over the past few months, Jim's Group managing director Jim Penman similarly said earlier this week.

Mr Tottman and his wife Taryn said the family would never recover from their loss.

"This will be forever. Time will heal certain pain but this will just go on forever," he said.

Ms Tottman said the last time she saw her older sister was on August 27 at a funeral and she seemed fine.

She found out about the five deaths via the television, saying part of her "didn't think it was real".

Ms Tottman said her two youngest children did not understand what had happened but her son understood some of it.

"There's only a certain amount he understands, so his innocence makes it easier," she said.

"He didn't want to go to grandma's anymore, he didn't like it because she's not there."

The couple also thanked the community for their support.

"Complete strangers have been amazing, overwhelming. My mum would have been humbled," Ms Tottman said.

"Everybody has been so supportive and so encouraging ... it's nice to know people care."

Police say Harvey stayed in the house for days after the alleged murders before travelling about 1500km north, then turned himself in on Sunday.

A GoFundMe page has so far raised more than $NZ19,690 for the family's funerals.

It is the third family mass murder in WA in four months, representing 15 of 23 domestic violence-related deaths in the state this year.

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Aussie PM Scott Morrison apologises and removes online video over inappropriate song lyrics

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has deleted a parody video from his social media accounts after discovering the hip-hop song used in the footage contains explicit and sexually charged lyrics.

The 11-second clip from question time in the federal Parliament on Thursday showed MPs raising their arms to the 1999 track Be Faithful by US rapper Fatman Scoop.

The suggestive lyrics were not included in the brief video, but the full song contains six uses of the word f***.

The clip was posted to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Thursday before being taken down.

"The full lyrics of the song used in my earlier video from QT today were just not OK. When I found out, I asked the team to take it down. Apologies," Mr Morrison tweeted.

Despite the video being deleted from all of Mr Morrison's accounts, social media users retained the clip and it's still easily accessible on Twitter.

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Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver: Islands prepare for Prince Harry and Meghan, Samoa responds to domestic violence epidemic

In this September 14 edition of Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver, 1 NEWS' Pacific Correspondent wraps up the week's news from the region.

In this week's edition we look at the itinerary for Prince Harry and Meghan’s tour through the Pacific.

In Samoa, a domestic violence commission says the government and church have not done enough to address the issue after nine out of 10 people were found to have experienced violence in the home.

In Papua New Guinea, Australian special forces are helping prepare the capital, Port Moresby, for the APEC Summit in November while Niue has been named as one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations.  

1 NEWS' Pacific Correspondent gives a round-up of news in the region. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Prince William's embarrassing 'Chinese food' gaffe while opening London's $25m Japan House

Prince William opened Japan House in London today, where he accidentally asked children in the building's restaurant if they'd "had much Chinese food", before swiftly apologising and correcting the gaffe to "Japanese food".

During the hour-long tour accompanied by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, William was shown how to make copper kettles, tried his hand at chopsticks and sampled some sashimi.

He revealed to the delight of the chef of the "Akira" restaurant in the building that he and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, "love sushi".

In a speech, the Duke of Cambridge described Japan House London as a bridge for ideas and creativity to flow between the two countries.

The newly-renovated Japan House cost more than $NZ25 million and aims to create a deepened understanding of Japan, building interest in the country as Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Olympics Games.

Japan will also host the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

The royal was eating in the building’s restaurant with some children when he made the mistake. Source: Associated Press