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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Floods - Power Prices - Beverly Bouma - Jenny Shipley On Polls - Undecided Voters - Chechnya - Texas Bonfire - Sex-Slave Trial - Bad Blood - Kiwi Sanctuaries - Another Blair Baby

FLOODS: A disaster relief office has been opened in Alexandra to coordinate the clean-up operation. River levels are dropping now. Schools are back. Roads are still closed but main routes out of Alexandra are now clear. The office is to help people with information on how to clean-up. 28 businesses and 9 houses only have been flooded. If there is little demand for the office it will close.

ALEXANDRA: Otago Regional Council says Alexandra residents are right to blame the Roxburgh dam for the flooding. Scientist Neil Johnstone interview extract. Contact is

FLOODS: The main road into Queenstown is unlikely to reopen for several months. Massive earthquake like gaps have opened up and the slip is still moving. 10 houses are too dangerous to re-enter. 20 householders have been given 30 minutes to get their valuables from their houses. An alternative route is being worked on.

FLOODS: A State of Emergency remain in force around Balclutha and at the Clutha mouth with very high river levels. The emergency will remain in force for several more days.

FLOODS: Transit NZ says it could cost $2 million to repair roads in Central Otago. Haast Pass road closed. Kawerau Gorge road is being worked on. Damage is so widespread - says Transit spokesman. Road from Wanaka to Cromwell is closed too.

POWER PRICES: Wholesale Electricity Prices have plunged as a result of the rain. But it will not effect consumer power prices.

BEVERLY BOUMA: The sentencing hearing in the Beverly Bouma murder is underway in Rotorua for the four accused.

JENNY SHIPLEY ON POLLS: Jenny Shipley says the election is still wide-open inspite of the fact that three polls show Labour and the Alliance winning. The NBR, Herald and TV3 polls all point to a victory for the left. Shipley says there are lots of people not answering pollsters questions and the election is wide open still. Helen Clark says the polls reflect a groundswell.

UNDECIDED: The undecided vote in TV3 is 16% and 8% in NBR. Political Scientist says that the undecided levels are not particularly high.

CHECHNYA: A move to resolve the conflict in Chechnya has come at an OCSE meeting in Istanbul. The statement on Chechnya agreed to by the Russian's calls for a politcal solution. President Yeltsin says the Russian's will not negotiate with "bandits".

CHECHNYA: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is in Southern Russia assessing the condition of Chechen refugees.

TEXAS BONFIRE: Nine people injured when a bonfire collapsed at a Texas university.

SEX-SLAVE TRIAL: Closing arguments begin in sex-slave trial in Auckland. The 55-year-old has pled guilty to 13 charges but denied offending against another victim. The lawyer for the woman accused claims that she is suffering from battered wife syndrome.

BAD BLOOD: The Ministry of Health says it expects to be able to replace the blood supply lost as result of the ban on English blood donors. Colin Feek says the move is precautionary.

KIWI SANCTUARIES: National Party is promising to establish five new Kiwi sanctuaries to head off the fall in the numbers of the endangered birds.

ANOTHER BLAIR BABY: The British PM and his wife are expecting their fourth child in May. The conception came as a total shock - says spokesman.

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