Editor's note

Tēnā koutou katoa, nau mai haere mai. Welcome to this week’s New Zealand newsletter.

New Zealand is part of a global network of countries that use artificial intelligence in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to the timing of a prisoner’s release, based on their likelihood of reoffending. But as John Zerilli and Colin Gavaghan at the University of Otago write, issues around the official use of AI algorithms in government include transparency, meaningful human control, data protection and bias - which is why they are calling for an independent regulator.

How long do you wait before you see your dentist? More than half of New Zealand’s young adults don’t access dental care when they need it because it is too expensive. Dental public health specialist Jonathan Broadbent argues that dental care is a neglected health issue and change is needed in the way it is funded and integrated into public health.

And with New Zealand’s first well-being budget coming up this week, Waikato University philosophy scholars Lorenzo Buscicchi and Dan Weijers explore why happiness can be so elusive.

You’ll find more articles by New Zealand authors as well as many more from The Conversation’s international editions, with a focus on the outcome of this week’s European elections.

For all New Zealand content, have a look at this page, and feel free to forward this email to anybody you think would enjoy this newsletter. They can sign up here. Thank you for reading. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.

Veronika Meduna

New Zealand Editor

Top stories

New Zealand is among a group of countries whose governments use predictive algorithms to help them make decisions. from www.shutterstock.com

Call for independent watchdog to monitor NZ government use of artificial intelligence

John Zerilli, University of Otago; Colin Gavaghan, University of Otago

Academics call for an independent regulator to address risks associated with the use of artificial intelligence by government agencies.

The risk for dental problems is determined in early childhood. from www.shutterstock.com

High cost means more than half of NZ’s young adults don’t access dental care

Jonathan Broadbent, University of Otago

The high cost of dental treatment is stopping almost half of all New Zealanders from seeking care when they need it. Funding at least parts of dental care publicly could change that.

A suite of new well-being measures are at the centre of New Zealand’s budget plan. from www.shutterstock.com

The paradox of happiness: the more you chase it the more elusive it becomes

Lorenzo Buscicchi, University of Waikato; Dan Weijers, University of Waikato

For New Zealand's first well-being budget, the government has moved away from traditional economic growth measures to focus on goals like cultural identity, social connection and happiness.

The gunman in the mosque attacks had already faced 50 murder charges before a new terrorism charge was brought against him this week. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Charging the Christchurch mosque attacker with terrorism could be risky – but it’s important

Keiran Hardy, Griffith University

New Zealand's terrorism law has never been prosecuted successfully since it was enacted nearly 20 years ago. So, why are prosecutors bringing a terrorism charge against the Christchurch shooter?

Protests followed the terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian military personnel in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. AAP/Jaipal Singh

How the dangerous evolution of Pakistan’s national security state threatens domestic stability

Robert G. Patman, University of Otago; Dr Arshad Ali, University of Otago

Escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir border are a stark reminder that the subcontinent is one of the world’s likeliest nuclear flashpoints.

From The Conversation's international editions

After Labour’s dismal European election performance, is it too late for Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum?

Steven Fielding, University of Nottingham

European vote sees electorate again dividing into Leave and Remain, as the Labour leader remained on the fence.

Theresa May resigns: how the leadership race could play out from here

Tom Quinn, University of Essex

Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Dominic Raab? Who will be the next prime minister?

Climate change: ‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist

James Dyke, University of Exeter

Why radical changes to society are needed if we are to escape environmental disaster.

Nigel Farage triumphs: survey reveals what drove voters to the Brexit Party in the European elections

Paul Whiteley, University of Essex

Newcomers took most support from the Conservatives. But survey shows Nigel Farage is not as popular as he likes to think.

Lights in the sky from Elon Musk’s new satellite network have stargazers worried

Michael J. I. Brown, Monash University

The first 60 satellites from Elon Musk's planned low orbit internet network have lit up the skies. But with more planned, astronomers say the satellites could ruin their work.

India Tomorrow part 7: what Narendra Modi’s landslide victory means for India

Annabel Bligh, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, The Conversation

A panel of academic experts assess Narendra Modi's victory in the final episode of our India Tomorrow series.

Big Pharma emits more greenhouse gases than the automotive industry

Lotfi Belkhir, McMaster University

The first study to assess the carbon footprint of the pharmaceutical industry finds that it is far from green.

How the new ‘Aladdin’ stacks up against a century of Hollywood stereotyping

Evelyn Alsultany, University of Southern California

While the 2019 'Aladdin' is a big improvement from the 1992 version, it still recycles some old tropes.