Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today, an inquiry is underway into a controversial SAS raid on an Afghan village, a car involved in fatal crash should never have passed a warrant of fitness and an elderly Christchurch couple feels trapped after a brutal home invasion. Hosted by Frances Cook.

An inquiry is underway into the controversial SAS raid on an Afghan village, which is said to be one of the most complex inquiries in New Zealand history.

The main topic today has been deciding what information is to be made public.

Dozens of claims have been made in the controversial book Hit & Run - which brought the most serious allegations ever to be aimed at the elite NZSAS.


The book, by authors Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, was published 18 months ago.

It alleges war crimes, the death of six civilians and wounding of 15 others during a "revenge" raid in Afghanistan on August 22 in 2010 - which has come to be known as Operation Burnham.

But the Defence Force is disputing those claims.

It says Hager and Stephenson made 105 errors, and that new US military footage has emerged to exonerate those involved.

Kristy McDonald QC says it's likely the inquiry would be one of the most complex in New Zealand's history.

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A Northland garage is under fire for issuing a warrant of fitness to a vehicle later involved in a fatal crash.

Dargaville Diesel Specialists has had its licence to issue warrants of fitness suspended indefinitely following the finding.

In mid-October, the NZTA Board and Minister of Transport Phil Twyford announced an extensive review of NZTA compliance files by law firm Meredith Connell was underway, and a tougher enforcement regime was being implemented.


65-year-old William Bell was a front-seat passenger in a car which lost control and crashed into a ditch on State Highway 12 near Turiwiri in Dargaville in January.

He died 26 days after the crash.

Police investigating the crash found the front-seat passenger seatbelt was frayed and failed in the crash.

Dargaville Diesel Specialists had issued a WoF to the car in December 2017.

NZTA Chief Executive Fergus Gammie says the garage failed William Bell.

But he admitted his agency's regulatory regime had also failed him, and that is unacceptable.

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A sense of unease in Wellington's Khandallah, on the fifth day of a search for a missing woman.

26-year-old Sonam Shelar is five months pregnant.

Police originally said Sonam Shelar was last seen at her home in the Wellington suburb on Saturday morning.

But in a more recent pamphlet delivered to residents, they say the 26-year-old was last in the area on Friday night.

Police yesterday confirmed they had upped their manpower in the search.

Jacob Cleghorn, who lives nearby, says it's left him feeling uneasy.

Another neighbour says she has even checked her shed for the missing woman.

Police also appealed today to any residents who have CCTV cameras in the area, to contact authorities immediately.

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The Government's investing $80m to fix problems with buildings and infrastructure at Middlemore Hospital and the Manukau SuperClinic.

Issues with leaky buildings, including mould in the walls, and earthquake-prone facilities came to light earlier this year.

It comes from the $750m set aside in this year's Budget to tackle hospitals' most serious building problems.

The money will be used to reclad the hospital's Kidz First building, relocate the radiology department - as well as establishing a "radiology hub" - and includes major work to the Manukau SuperClinic.

Health Minister David Clark says the announcement was a welcome step in what would be an ongoing process of renewing Middlemore and other DHB facilities.

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Heartbreaking news about the critically ill Napier father who was flown urgently back from Fiji last week.

27-year-old Jarred Thompson died overnight.

He'd been in the comfort of his home in Taupo since Saturday, surrounded by family and friends.

Thompson had been in remission after having cancer last year, but fell suddenly ill in Fiji earlier this month.

He was medically evacuated to Auckland last Tuesday and rushed to Auckland Hospital, where he was reunited with his young daughter.

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A woman who assaulted an elderly couple during a home invasion in Christchurch has been jailed for seven years.

39-year-old Whangarei woman Maera Elizabeth Todd assaulted a 91-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman in their Papanui home three months ago.

At the time, Todd faced outstanding charges for the kidnapping and robbery of an 87-year-old man outside a Hastings supermarket.

83-year-old John McCammon told the court he thought he was going to die when Todd smothered him with a pillow and threatened to stab him with secateurs.

Todd and another woman, who has admitted a robbery charge and will be sentenced in January, targeted the Christchurch octogenarian as a soft target and mistakenly thought he was sitting on a pile of cash.

They had earlier scoped out the property, before later bursting inside and demanded money.

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A man with a reputation of being the country's worst repeat drink-driver has been sentenced to home detention.

Gavin Hawthorn has six months home detention, 180 hours community service and is disqualified for obtaining a licence for two years, after being caught drink driving once again in Paraparaumu in June.

He's previously killed four people in two different crashes while driving drunk in 2003 and 1989.

Caroline Perry, from road safety charity Brake, says a driver who continually puts lives at risk shouldn't be on the road.

And other experts also believe serial drink drivers aren't being dealt with strongly enough.

Alcohol and drug counsellor Roger Brooking says more needs to be done to get repeat offenders into treatment.

Brooking says the justice system is soft on repeat drink drivers.

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There's been another departure from the Prime Minister's press office.

Jacinda Ardern's strategic communications chief adviser Mike Jaspers has resigned from the role and leaves on Friday.

Jaspers was previously the Prime Minister's chief press secretary.

But he moved sideways into the more backroom role earlier this year, and was replaced by former Greens chief strategist and communications director Andrew Campbell.

A spokesperson said Jaspers had chosen to take a break and pursue new opportunities in the New Year.

Jaspers' departure comes a week after one of Ardern's three other press secretaries, former journalist Julie Jacobson, also left.

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A "buy now" price for Trade Me.

Trade Me says it's received a takeover offer - a $2.5b buyout offer from UK private equity company, Apax partners.

In a filing to the ASX, the $6.40-a-share offer is indicative and non-binding.

The deal is subject to due diligence, and Trade Me is open to rival offers before Apax presents its binding bid on December 12.

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A big win for a New Zealand medicinal cannabis company.

The iconic New Zealand Made Kiwi logo will be used to market Auckland-based Helius Therapeutics.

The company's been approved to carry the famous logo, to help it compete on the international market.

It says there's enormous value in being New Zealand-grown and this will be a key point of difference on the world stage.

Buy New Zealand Made executive director, Ryan Jennings, believes New Zealand products will earn a strong reputation internationally.

He says the global market will reach around $200-billion by 2025.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB
BurgerFuel Worldwide has launched a new cheaper burger brand, and could soon be rolling out throughout New Zealand.

It's called Shake Out, and it's opened in Auckland's Goodside dining precinct, on Auckland's North Shore.

Shake Out will serve a "simple menu of burgers", milkshakes and ice cream sundaes.

It will a cashless service, designed to be a grab-and-go restaurant.

The burger brand will offer cheaper burgers compared to BurgerFuel, with prices ranging between $8-$10.

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From the heartbreaking to the side-splitting, it's all in a days' work for the country's volunteer fire brigade.

Levin fireman Steve Pickering has received a Gold Star 25-year service medal.

And with that, he's been asked about the various callouts he's had to attend over his career.

Of course, there are the dire emergency responses, including road accidents and fires where people had died.

But it's the lighter and more bizarre stories that tend to stand out.

He's been called to a major offal spill, cats and birds stuck in trees, and even incidents involving mobility scooters.

Pickering's now involved in the weekly training of new recruits and enjoys passing on his knowledge.

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That's the Front Page for today, Wednesday November 21, making sure you're across the biggest news of the day. For more on these stories, check out The New Zealand Herald, or tune in to Newstalk ZB.

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