Editor's note

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

This week in Climate Explained a reader asks why we don’t focus all our efforts on preparing for climate change impacts rather than trying to reduce emissions. In response, Victoria University of Wellington associate professor Ralph Chapman explains why it is crucial that we curb emissions and how mitigation is one of the best investments humanity will ever make.

Meaningful work can be an important part of well-being, but results from the New Zealand Workplace Barometer released this week show that more than a quarter of employees experience depression often. Massey University expert on workplace culture Tim Bentley says the project’s aim is to understand the causes of psychological workplace risks and to help organisations to improve worker health by attacking any problems at their source.

New Zealand’s government statistician resigned last week, following the release of an independent review of the 2018 census. It was the first census to be carried out online, but fell well short of its target response rate. Māori responses in particular were low, 20% down on the previous census. Maria Bargh at Victoria University of Wellington and Arama Rata at the University of Waikato have analysed voter participation in local iwi elections and argue that maintaining other, non-digital voting options encourages participation.

Can you still remember life before smartphones? AUT information systems expert Lena Waizenegger and her colleagues report on a study in which they asked volunteers to give up their devices and travel digital-free.Participants tracked their emotional response to the technology disconnect - and while they reported heightened anxiety at first, they overcame their initial reaction and eventually came to enjoy the digital-free experience.

And this week, the team at The Conversation UK launched a news special, rounding up the best coverage on vaccines from across The Conversation’s global network.

You’ll find plenty more news and analysis in this week’s newsletter as well as on the New Zealand page. Many thanks for reading! If you know someone who would enjoy this newsletter, feel free to share it. They can subscribe here. Ka kite anō i tērā wiki.

Veronika Meduna

New Zealand Editor

Top stories

Research shows the cost of damage through climate change will be much greater than the costs of reducing emissions. from www.shutterstock.com

Climate explained: why we need to cut emissions as well as prepare for impacts

Ralph Brougham Chapman, Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand is small and generates a tiny fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions, but investment in cutting emissions is important and could influence other, larger countries.

Many workers are exposed to work environments that leave them feeling depressed and burnt out. from www.shutterstock.com

NZ workplace study shows more than quarter of employees feel depressed much of the time

Professor Tim Bentley, Massey University

Data from a workplace barometer study show more than a quarter of employees felt depressed often, a half said depression affected their lives and for 8% life was "very or extremely difficult".


Leave your phone at home this holiday and you’ll feel better (after you feel worse)

Brad McKenna, University of East Anglia; Lena Waizenegger, Auckland University of Technology; Wenjie Cai, University of Greenwich

Technology-free holidays can feel unbearable at first but this soon gives way to a better experience.

New Zealand’s 2018 census was the first to be carried out online, but it captured only 83% of people, a response rate 9% lower than the previous census. Māori responses dropped by 20%. from www.shutterstock.com

Bungled NZ census highlights need for multiple voting options to raise Māori participation

Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington; Arama Rata, University of Waikato

The failure of the 2018 census to get a good response rate highlights the need for multiple voting options to increase participation, particularly of Māori.

Since the last ice age, the ice sheet retreated over a thousand kilometres in the Ross Sea region, more than any other region on the continent. Rich Jones

New research shows that Antarctica’s largest floating ice shelf is highly sensitive to warming of the ocean

Dan Lowry, Victoria University of Wellington

New research shows that ocean and air temperatures both contributed to the melting of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf in the past, but melting from below by a warming ocean became more important over time.

Protestors in Hong Kong airport on August 12. Jerome Favre/EPA

Hong Kong protests: history lessons for Beijing from British colonial era uprising

Nicholas Ross Smith, University of Nottingham; Mark Boyd, University of Auckland

What Beijing could learn from the British response to the 1967 Hong Kong riots.

From The Conversation's international editions

‘We all slept in the car, five of us’. Young refugees talk about being homeless in Australia

Jen Couch, Australian Catholic University

Young refugees are at high risk of being homeless in Australia. A five-year study has found re-establishing connections with their communities was the pathway out of homeless for most of them.

We built a network of greenhouses and rain shelters to simulate what climate change will do to soils

Anna Hopkins, Edith Cowan University; Christina Birnbaum, Deakin University; Joe Fontaine, Murdoch University; Neal Enright, Murdoch University

A real-life experiment to mimic future conditions for soils affected by climate change suggests that some of the biggest impacts could be to ecosystems buried out of sight beneath our feet.

Tarantino has a questionable record in the #MeToo context, so should we boycott his new film?

Christina Lee, Curtin University

Reservoir Dogs came out in 1992. 25 years later, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is being released in a very different world – so how does the filmmaker, and his films – stack up today?

‘We die together’: Hong Kong protests are being driven by a fearless young generation

Malte Phillipp Kaeding, University of Surrey

Who are Hong Kong's protesters?

Stolen fingerprints could spell the end of biometric security – here’s how to save it

Chaminda Hewage, Cardiff Metropolitan University

You can't change your fingerprint if it's stolen like you'd change your password.

Nagasaki’s shadows: European citizens facing nuclear weapons

Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po – USPC; Fabrício M. Fialho, Sciences Po – USPC

With the risk of a nuclear conflict seeming higher than ever, how much do EU citizens really know about nuclear weapons and their use? A new survey provides striking answers.

Three benefits of Indonesia’s permanent ban on forest clearance

Nirarta Samadhi, World Resources Institute

Indonesia has permanently banned new clearing of primary forest and peatland. Here are three benefits of the policy.

El Grito: Violence in Colombia continues to kill activists

Diana M. Barrero Jaramillo, University of Toronto

In Colombia, a 2016 peace agreement does not contain the ongoing violence. Violence escalates as criminal armed groups replace the FARC rebels in a violent battle for land and resources.

Mozambique case study shows that poverty is about much more than income

Sam Jones, United Nations University; Inge Tvedten, Chr. Michelsen Institute

Income is a useful measure for tracking economic progress over time. But a broader lens is needed to understand the relational and often political ways in which poverty emerges and is reproduced.

Why Canada’s environmental charities are afraid to talk about climate change during the election

Dianne Saxe, York University, Canada

Environmental charities are worried about speaking out about climate change during the upcoming federal campaign for fear Elections Canada will consider their activities as "partisan."