News

Auckland is the world’s ‘most liveable city’? Many Māori might disagree

Guest Author Jun 17, 2021

Ella Henry, Auckland University of Technology   While I am always happy to celebrate any accolades my country and city might garner on the international stage, seeing Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau awarded the top ranking in a recent “most liveable cities” survey left me somewhat flummoxed. In particular, I would argue that many Māori whānau in Auckland do not enjoy … Read More

Whakaari tragedy: court case highlights just how complex it is to forecast a volcanic eruption

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Shane Cronin, University of Auckland and David Dempsey, University of Canterbury   While today’s pre-trial hearing over the Whakaari White Island tragedy revealed most of the 13 parties charged have yet to enter pleas, there is no disputing the basic facts. The December 9 2019 eruption struck when 47 people were on the small island; 22 people died … Read More

New Zealand relies on scientific research for good policy. It’s a pity the budget didn’t reflect this

Guest Author Jun 02, 2021

Nicola Gaston, University of Auckland   New Zealand’s government has been praised for listening to scientists as it continues to pursue its COVID-19 elimination strategy. But it’s difficult to find any signs of significant investment in science in the recent budget — or in fact previous budgets. It was with a sense of déjà vu I scrolled through … Read More

HIV/AIDS vaccine: Why don’t we have one after 37 years, when we have several for COVID-19 after a few months?

Guest Author May 18, 2021

Ronald C. Desrosiers, University of Miami   Smallpox has been eradicated from the face of the Earth following a highly effective, worldwide vaccination campaign. Paralytic poliomyelitis is no longer a problem in the U.S. because of development and use of effective vaccines against the poliovirus. In current times, millions of lives have been saved because of rapid deployment … Read More

Jacinda Ardern calls for ‘ethical algorithms’ to combat online extremism. What this means

Guest Author May 18, 2021

Nathalie Collins, Edith Cowan University   New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has called for “ethical algorithms” to help stop online radicalisation. She made her call on the weekend at the second summit of the “Christchurch Call” for action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The first Christchurch Call summit was convened by Ardern and French president … Read More

NZ Budget 2021: we need the arts to live, but artists need to earn a living

Guest Author May 13, 2021

Mark Harvey, University of Auckland   It seems unlikely the arts will be a priority in the government’s May 20 budget. With housing affordability, climate change and child poverty all urgent issues, arts funding might not be seen as equally important. I argue it is — for two main reasons: it makes economic sense, and it is also essential to … Read More

Selling a buffalo for a brain scan: India’s COVID-19 crisis reveals deep fractures in its health system

Guest Author May 06, 2021

Kaaren Mathias, University of Canterbury As India’s COVID-19 crisis continues, the percentage of the population testing positive for the virus has grown from 4.2% to 18.4% in the past 30 days. With more than 300,000 new cases reported each day, hospitals and crematoria face collapse. Global media have been awash with heartbreaking images, statistics and stories showing the … Read More

If New Zealand can radically reform its health system, why not do the same for welfare?

Guest Author May 05, 2021

Louise Humpage, University of Auckland   The government’s recently announced health sector reforms go well beyond what its expert health review had recommended. This was rightly welcomed by many in the sector, but it does raise the question: if radical change can be made in health, why not the same for welfare? For years now, benefit recipients, welfare … Read More

Laws governing police use of DNA are changing: are the proposals fair for all New Zealanders?

Guest Author May 03, 2021

Carrie Leonetti, University of Auckland By helping identify perpetrators and the remains of victims, forensic DNA analysis holds enormous power to solve crimes. It also has enormous implications for privacy and fairness. But with science and society changing at such a pace, the law can struggle to keep up. It is now 25 years since New Zealand’s Criminal … Read More

People have had a hard time weighing pandemic risks because they haven’t gotten information they needed when they needed it

Guest Author Apr 30, 2021

Kathleen H. Pine, Arizona State University; Kathryn Henne, Australian National University, and Myeong Lee, George Mason University The decision to pause and then restart the Johnson & Johnson vaccine underscores how hard it is even for experts to gauge health risks. It’s been still harder for everyday people, most of whom have no medical background and little experience analyzing … Read More