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Many New Zealanders are struggling to make ends meet. So thinking about retirement, which could be decades away, feels like a bridge too far. But that is exactly what we should be doing, says AUT’s Ayesha Scott in her analysis of retirement savings.

If average KiwiSaver balances are anything to go by, those in their 40s will be short by hundreds of dollars a week in retirement.

As Scott writes, “Put simply, these individuals face high household expenditure with kids at home and, if they’re homeowners, increasing interest rates on their mortgage repayments. If they’re paying rent, that’s likely to be going up as well.

This age group also has less time to benefit from KiwiSaver’s compounding returns before retirement and, despite NZ Super being seemingly guaranteed, retirement is far enough away for a little uncertainty to be prudent.”

It makes for bleak reading but there are things we can do to reduce the risk of having to work well past retirement age, Scott says.

As always, you’ll find more interesting articles in this newsletter and on our homepage, including this analysis by international relations scholar Robert Patman who examines New Zealand’s evolving foreign policy and role during this week’s NATO leaders’ summit.

Many thanks for supporting our work, please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. Until next time, take care and mā te wā.

Debrin Foxcroft

Deputy Editor, New Zealand

A $400-a-week shortfall: people in their 40s face a bleak retirement on KiwiSaver’s current trajectory

Ayesha Scott, Auckland University of Technology

Over two-thirds of Kiwis are worried they won’t be able to retire. KiwiSaver was supposed to help but the reality is many will still fall well short of what is needed to live comfortably past 65.

Moral injury: what happens when exhausted health workers can no longer provide the care they want for their patients

Dougal Sutherland, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

Health organisations must play their part in preventing burnout and moral injury in workers. Most factors leading to it – such as lack of resources and staff – are outside the control of individuals.

Some see NZ’s invite to the NATO summit as a reward for a shift in foreign policy, but that’s far from accurate

Robert G. Patman, University of Otago

At a time of geopolitical uncertainty, New Zealand’s government has distinctive reasons for opposing Putin’s Ukraine invasion and expressing public reservations about China’s ambition in the Pacific.

Young non-smokers in NZ are taking up vaping more than ever before. Here are 5 reasons why

Lindsay Robertson, University of Otago; Janet Hoek, University of Otago

Research suggests that if vapes had never been introduced, many young non-smokers may not have started using any nicotine products.

New Zealand needs a new gang strategy – political consensus would be a good start

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Claire Breen, University of Waikato

History shows there is no magic bullet for solving gang crime. Only an evidence-based approach, coupled with mutually agreed targets and indicators, will start to achieve real change.

How digital tech can help people with asthma manage their meds and reduce the risk of attacks

Amy Chan, University of Auckland

Asthma is a huge health challenge, and many people struggle to stick to a medication regime to control their condition. Digital technologies can help, but we need to know more about what works best.

From our foreign editions

Australians are more millennial, multilingual and less religious: what the census reveals

Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

India is now the third-largest birthplace of Australian residents behind Australia and England, while for the first time less than half of the population has identified as Christian.

‘No religion’ is Australia’s second-largest religious group – and it’s having a profound effect on our laws

Renae Barker, The University of Western Australia

An ongoing shift in Australia’s religious demographics is playing out in our laws. Perhaps the most obvious example is marriage equality.

First bipartisan gun control bill in a generation signed into law: 3 essential reads on what it means

Howard Manly, The Conversation

After years of gridlock, Congress passed significant gun control legislation for the first time in the last 30 years.

Wittgenstein tried to solve all the problems of philosophy in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus – but he didn’t quite succeed

Catherine Legg, Deakin University

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s brilliant early work has had a lasting influence on philosophy, though almost no one has agreed with his conclusions – not even Wittgenstein himself.

Defining when human life begins is not a question science can answer – it’s a question of politics and ethical values

Sahotra Sarkar, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts

Some people seeking to influence public opinion about abortion rights claim the science is clear. It’s not, and that means abortion remains a political question – not a biological one.

Roe v Wade: men benefit from abortion rights too – and should speak about them more

Stephen Burrell, Durham University; Sandy Ruxton, Durham University

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v Wade, it’s worth remembering that a man can benefit from the right to abortion many more times over his lifespan than a woman might.

New research shows how Indonesia’s drug control victimises women and puts their health at risk

Claudia Stoicescu, Monash University

Police drug enforcement activities in Indonesia do more harm than good, and women bear the brunt of it. It’s time for Indonesia to decriminalise drug use and expand health services.

Wolf culls change hunting habits and help caribou conservation

Jason T Fisher, University of Victoria

Woodland caribou populations are on the decline because human activity changes their habitat and exposes them to predation by wolves. But changing wolves’ hunting habits may protect the caribou.

Ethno-racial minorities in Canada have less access to affordable housing than white people

Kate Choi, Western University; Sagi Ramaj, University of Toronto

Ensuring visible minorities have equitable access to affordable housing is an important step in fulfilling the National Housing Strategy’s goal to make affordable housing available to all Canadians.

Kenya and South Africa offer insights into digital economy challenges and alternatives

Stephan Manning, University of Sussex

It’s still fashionable today to promote tech startups and tech hubs based on models from the global north. But new, alternative and more sustainable models might be emerging.