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TV3 News - 156 Days To The Millennium

FLASH FLOOD: Flash flood has claimed 18 lives in Switzerland. At least one New Zealander was killed. They were leaping over waterfalls when hit by a flood. John Hall from Wellington among the survivors. Mother says he did not know how many were killed. 40 were on the canyoning trip when struck by a thunderstorm. Another New Zealand man is still missing presumed dead. Local people did not realise what had happened until bodies found floating in the lake by walkers. Tour people say the work is underway to contact relatives. Other parents don't know whether their kids were involved . Phone number set up for people to find out info.

DRINKING AGE LOWERED: The legal drinking age has been lowered to 18. Steven Parker live: They have made some big changes quicker than I can blink. Sunday trading too. Will probably also vote for supermarkets to sell beer. The changes were hotly debated. Phil Goff says two thirds of public against lowering age. Tuku Morgan also very upset. PM says she went into a pub underage and wants people to consider that fact. First voted in favour of ID cards for bar entry. Plenty more to debate still. Q: John Campbell: Please confirm - there will be Sunday Trading - is that right. A: Yes the Lower Age Vote was - 60 54 quite a close vote. Not many MPs argued the case but they were there to vote in numbers. The argument was that in reality the current law is confusing. MPs also make point that introducing clearer and stricter law will be positive.

DRINKING AGE CONCERNS: Many young people are welcoming the news but AA and others are concerned. Caffeine the only legal fix at university. Some students in favour others again. AA says lowering the drinking age will have tragic results. Evidence overseas shows that alcohol age levels effect road deaths. Health professionals are also opposed.

HATE ATTACK IN CHRISTCHURCH SCHOOL: A fourth form student known for her support of gays and lesbians was attacked viciously in the toilets by two other girls with a craft knife. The victim is not gay herself. The acting principle of Cashmere High School says the school is safe. Students are shocked. Expert says she would not encourage gay students to come out at school.

PETROL PRICES: Petrol prices put up. Upwardly Mobil prices. Driver seems not overly concerned. Caltex and BP also posting higher prices. AA says the motorist is entitled to the full facts now. Challenge likely to follow tomorrow.

SCOTT WATSON TRIAL: Water Taxi Driver Guy Wallace describes New Year's Eve. Says he worked the bar and served a scruffy person - who the crown allege is the accused. Wallace had been a barman in Picton for six years - where Watson also lived. Later Wallace met the man on the track on the way to the boat. He dropped a couple at the Tamarac and picked up another couple. Wallace says the scruffy man offered the couple accommodation and raised his eyebrows when Olivia Hope sat down - "you can come, gesturing to her, but you can't, gesturing to him". All three got off at the man's yacht. Wallace said he had a funny feeling and asked "are you sure you are all right". Wallace has always maintained he delivered them to a ketch and supplied a sketch of this ketch to police. After dropping them off he did a few more trips and then went back to the bar for a drink. Earlier today another witness - who was also on the boat - was asked to reread his statements made to police just after the event again. It was clear that he had never mentioned at ketch in his initial statements. Morrisey first mentioned the ketch a month later.

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