Editor's note

Nau mai, haere mai - welcome to your weekly New Zealand newsletter.

At the end of this month, New Zealand will release its first well-being budget. It builds on a suite of measures such as cultural identity, housing, environment, income and consumption, and social connections. Other countries have tried this before and Victoria University of Wellington public policy expert Arthur Grimes asks if there is anything new in New Zealand’s approach that conservative governments elsewhere have not already considered over a decade ago.

Apocalypse Now is turning 40 this year. The film received mixed reviews when it was first released, but became a major cinematic landmark, considered to be director Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus. But as film studies lecturer Alfio Leotta writes, its success was in large part due to the genius of co-writer John Milius.

And as a Royal Commission of Inquiry has begun its investigation into the circumstances that led to the Christchurch mosque shootings, AUT law professor Kris Gledhill explores the limitations of the inquiry’s terms of reference.

Finally, The Conversation has launched it’s annual donation drive this month. If you enjoy reading The Conversation and value evidence-based coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Every dollar goes towards allowing The Conversation to continue publishing expert analysis without paywalls or advertising.

Many thanks to AUT, Massey University, University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago for supporting The Conversation in New Zealand.

You’ll find all New Zealand articles on this page, and if you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, feel free to forward this email. They can sign up here. Ka nui ngā mihi ki a koutou.

Veronika Meduna

New Zealand Editor

Top stories

Finance minister Grant Robertson will announce New Zealand’s first budget that uses a well-being measures. from www.shutterstock.com

New Zealand’s well-being approach to budget is not new, but could shift major issues

Arthur Grimes, Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand's upcoming budget takes a well-being approach based on a suite of living standard indicators. But will this be different to what conservative governments elsewhere tried a decade ago?

For the film’s 40th anniversary, director Francis Ford Coppola has unveiled Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.

Apocalypse Now turns 40: rediscovering the genesis of a film classic

Alfio Leotta, Victoria University of Wellington

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Apocalypse now, and a director's cut version of the film classic premiered last week.

As part of the New Zealand government’s response to the Christchurch mosque attacks, a Royal Commission of Inquiry will investigate the specific circumstances leading up to it. AAP/Joseph Johnson

Explainer: how a royal commission will investigate Christchurch shootings

Kris Gledhill, Auckland University of Technology

A Royal commission of inquiry has been set up to look into circumstances that led to the Christchurch mosque attacks. It will investigate intelligence services, it not the role of media.

Threats, censorship and a climate of self-censorship are commonplace for journalists in the Pacific region. from www.shutterstock.com

Pacific countries score well in media freedom index, but reality is far worse

David Robie, Auckland University of Technology

Along with growing hostility towards journalists globally, the media climate in the Pacific has also been deteriorating.

About 74% of New Zealand’s land birds, including the endemic takahe, are either threatened or at risk of extinction. AAP/Brendon Doran

Despite its green image, NZ has world’s highest proportion of species at risk

Michael (Mike) Joy, Victoria University of Wellington; Sylvie McLean, Victoria University of Wellington

The latest update on the environment highlights that New Zealand has the world's highest proportion of indigenous wildlife species either threatened or at risk of extinction.

From The Conversation's international editions

‘Revolutionary change’ needed to stop unprecedented global extinction crisis

Michelle Lim, University of Adelaide

The Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has some sobering news.

Look at me! Look at me! How image-conscious but visionless leaders have made for a dreary campaign

Mark Kenny, Australian National University

As the campaign wears on, Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten have appeared increasingly stage-managed and rehearsed. Where is the charisma, wit and inspiring ideas?

For Aboriginal artists, personal stories matter

Louise Martin-Chew, The University of Queensland

Art historians argue that the life of the artist should be viewed independently of their art but, for most Aboriginal artists, art is a cultural expression that encompasses their lives.

El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to coral records

Mandy Freund, University of Melbourne; Ben Henley, University of Melbourne; David Karoly, CSIRO; Helen McGregor, University of Wollongong; Nerilie Abram, Australian National University

El Niño events can affect millions of people around the world, causing drought in Australia and floods in the Americas.

Caster Semenya’s impossible situation: Testosterone gets special scrutiny but doesn’t necessarily make her faster

Jaime Schultz, Pennsylvania State University

Sports are segregated by sex. But what happens when athletes don't fit neatly into sport's definition of gender?

Constitutional reform made easy: how to achieve the Uluru statement and a First Nations voice

Eddie Synot, Griffith University

First, change the constitution. Then, negotiate the detailed design of the First Nations voice to parliament: this is the only way to bring about meaningful reform.

60 days in Iceberg Alley, drilling for marine sediment to decipher Earth’s climate 3 million years ago

Suzanne O'Connell, Wesleyan University

A paleooceanographer describes her ninth sea expedition, this time retrieving cylindrical 'cores' of the sediment and rock that's as much as two miles down at the ocean floor.

Coalition plans to improve online safety don’t address the root cause of harms: the big tech business model

David Watts, La Trobe University

It's easy to legislate for new offences and more incarceration. It's harder – and more expensive – to ensure the community is safer in the long term. This involves addressing causes, not effects.