National News Brief, Monday January 26

The police shooting of Halatau Naitoko; John Key's first Pacfic Island Forum; where are New Zealand's least affordable houses?; police strike deal with "stalker" mum; and more

The New Zealand Herald's banner headline reads: "How it happened", and details events leading up to the death of teenage courier driver and father, Halatau Naitoko, who was shot by armed police on an Auckland motorway on Friday. From the side of the motorway police fired five shots at a 50 year-old armed offender officers had been chasing from west Auckland. Four of those shots came from M4 rifles, and it was one of those that hit and killed Naitoko, who was caught "in the line of fire". Richard Neville, who was being kidnapped by the offender when police opened fire, says police saved his life. The DominionPost also leads with the shooting, naming the offender as Stephen Hohepa McDonald. The paper says police visited Naitoko's family yesterday to apologise, but the family still wants answers and to meet the armed offenders squad member who shot the young man.

Elsewhere on its front page, the Herald outlines John Key's first trip to a Pacific Island Forum, in Port Moresby, saying he will meet with Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to discuss Fiji's future within the forum. The forum will be dominated by deciding what to do with Fiji' unelected government. Key will offer training for Papua New Guinea's military forces when he meets with prime minister Sir Michael Somare tomorrow.

Falling real estate prices means buying a house in Australian is now less afforable than in New Zealand, according to a report by survey company Demographia. Comparing wages and house prices in New Zealand with the US, Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australia, New Zealand moved from last a year ago to second-last, ahead of Australia. In New Zealand, the least affordable place to buy a house was Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty, where it took six years and six months to afford a house, ahead of Auckland.

Dunedin City Council is voting today on a proposed new rating system that would benefit big business, the Otago Daily Times reports. According to a "sample" of rates accounts, the new system would mean a drop in rates on commercial buildings and an increase on average residential properties.

The Press leads with news that Christchurch police have struck "an unusual deal" with a woman who was planning to stalk the man who raped her daughter. Jack Michael Harris is due for release after serving a 4 and a half year prison sentence and the woman wanted to learn where he lived and warn neighbours, and so had another daughter follow a prison van. The daughter was pulled over by four police cars and police have agreed to tell the woman the area the man will be living on condition she leave him alone.

Finally, thousands of motorists created a traffic jam on new Northern Gateway toll road yesterday. The road, designed to ease congestion, opened on Saturday and is free until midnight tonight. A combination of sight-seers and Aucklanders returning from holiday caused massive delays.