Science and Society

Power play: despite the tough talk, the closure of Tiwai Point is far from a done deal - Guest Work

Guest Author Jul 15, 2020

Geoff Bertram, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Another year, another round of hostage-taking by the owners of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. As always, Rio Tinto has made the first move, threatening to close New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) in Southland unless some ransom is paid. A thousand jobs would be lost, with a further 1,600 … Read More

Lockdown, relax, repeat: how cities across the globe are going back to coronavirus restrictions - COVID-19

Guest Author Jul 15, 2020

Maximilian de Courten, Victoria University; Bojana Klepac Pogrmilovic, Victoria University, and Rosemary V Calder, Victoria University The World Health Organisation reported more than 230,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday — the world’s largest daily increase during the pandemic. The surge has forced governments in many places across the world to order new lockdowns. This includes Melbourne, which is back … Read More

Opening New Zealand’s borders – an educational scenario - COVID-19

Guest Author Jul 07, 2020

Associate Professor Sara Walton At the heart of the discussion on opening up our borders is the dichotomy of health and the economy – both of which are actually intertwined, like many things with our economy, as this epidemic has shown. If we think about our country as a system, an open system deals with the ebbs and … Read More

The small numbers problem: distinguishing good luck from good performance - COVID-19

Guest Author Jul 04, 2020

Dave Heatley Zero community transmission. Just a handful of active cases, all in quarantine. New Zealand is in an attractive situation, at least compared to much of the world. The situation could be robust and enduring – or it might be fragile, just one border incursion away from a “second wave”. How would we tell? COVID-19 just keeps changing and … Read More

Level with me - COVID-19

Guest Author Jul 03, 2020

Nik Green Much of the public debate about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on the extent to which government regulations have restricted personal and business activity. Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government Here in New Zealand, the question of when to change Alert Levels dominated the media and Parliament, with some arguing that the highly-restrictive … Read More

The sun is setting on unsustainable long-haul, short-stay tourism — regional travel bubbles are the future - COVID-19

Guest Author Jul 03, 2020

James Higham, University of Otago Unprecedented border closures and the domestic lockdown have paralysed New Zealand’s $40.9 billion a year tourism industry. In the process, the vulnerability of the sector to external shocks and the tenuous nature of tourism employment have been exposed. While New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic has been hailed as a global masterclass, and the … Read More

The day the sky fell in - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 30, 2020

It’s June 30th, marked as Asteroid Day by many people of an astronomical bent around the globe. On this date in 1908, early in the morning in a remote part of central Siberia, the sky fell in. Well, not literally. What happened is a substantially-sized bit of cosmic detritus – a lump of rock and perhaps ice – arrived … Read More

The fate of the albatross - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 19, 2020

Yesterday I wrote that I can find some reason to celebrate almost any date, and today (19th June) is no exception: it’s World Albatross Day. Unfortunately the day began with a news story concerning a commercial fishing boat killing four endangered Antipodean albatrosses off NZ’s East Cape. Even more unfortunately, such events are not unusual, with several … Read More