News

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

Without the right financial strategies, NZ’s climate change efforts will remain unfinished business

Guest Author Apr 28, 2021

David Hall, Auckland University of Technology When it comes to climate change, money talks. Climate finance is critical for enabling a low-emissions transition. This involves investment and expenditure — public, private, domestic and transnational — that demonstrably contributes to climate mitigation, adaptation or both. As New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told US President Joe Biden’s virtual Leaders’ … Read More

No one is mourning the end of district health boards, but rebuilding trust in the system won’t be easy

Guest Author Apr 27, 2021

Tim Tenbensel, University of Auckland This week’s announcement that all district health boards (DHBs) would be abolished and replaced with a centralised health agency took a lot of people by surprise. Most key health sector interest groups appear to support the proposed agency, provisionally known as Health NZ. But the Labour government has created some very high expectations, … Read More

With closer ties to GPs, NZ’s new central health agency could revolutionise treatment of major diseases

Guest Author Apr 26, 2021

Verna Smith, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington It is rare to get excited about institutional reform, but the government’s announcement of wholesale changes to the health system has the potential to be transformative. The restructure comes in response to last year’s Health and Disability System review. Among other changes, it will create a centralised organisation, … Read More

The St Vincent eruption is a reminder of how volcano research and monitoring can save lives

Guest Author Apr 23, 2021

Silvio De Angelis, University of Liverpool and Janine Kavanagh, University of Liverpool Volcanic eruptions come with a variety of hazards, depending on the type of volcano and its magma. Some have effusive eruptions, where lava flows constantly, while others can expel large clouds of fragments of magma and gases – volcanic ash – into the atmosphere. For some of the … Read More

If we want to improve NZ’s freshwater quality, first we need to improve the quality of our democracy

Guest Author Apr 23, 2021

Nicolas Pirsoul, University of Auckland and Maria Armoudian, University of Auckland Since the fatal Havelock North campylobacter outbreak in 2016, freshwater quality has rightfully been a major political issue in Aotearoa New Zealand. Pipes bursting in Wellington, lead contamination in Otago and concerns about tolerable levels of nitrates in the country’s drinking water are all signs … Read More