Nau mai haere mai

In just a few days, New Zealand will get the final results of the 2023 election. It was clear on the night the National Party would be leading the next government. But the lingering question has been whether the right-wing coalition of National and ACT would be able to govern alone - or require the help of Winston Peters’ NZ First to get over the required 61-seat majority.

It all comes down to the 567,000 special votes. These have traditionally swung left, adding seats to Labour and the Greens. It’s expected that 2023 will follow the same pattern.

As Adrian Beaumont explains, the most likely outcome of the special vote count is a three-headed coalition, led by National and including ACT and NZ First.

Does this mean there is no chance of National and ACT governing alone? Well, Beaumont has done the math and it is possible, but unlikely.

There is plenty more to read here and on our homepage, including a look at how different crops can reduce the risks of wildfires on agricultural landscapes.

Until next time, mā te wā.

Debrin Foxcroft

Deputy New Zealand Editor

Special votes mean National and ACT will likely lose their majority

Adrian Beaumont, The University of Melbourne

Ahead of Friday’s final election results, the most likely outcome is National and ACT will need to add NZ First to form a right-wing coalition government. These are the results and seats to watch.

Fire-smart farming: how the crops we plant could help reduce the risk of wildfires on agricultural landscapes

Tim Curran, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Md Azharul Alam, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Tanmayi Pagadala, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Thomas Maxwell, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Redesigning agricultural landscapes to plant fire-retardant crops could help mitigate wildfires in an increasingly fire-prone world.

NZ’s workplace rules will change again with each new government – unless we do this

Bernard Walker, University of Canterbury; Danaë Anderson, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Julienne Molineaux, Auckland University of Technology

Bringing together worker, business, and government representatives helped set clearer rules for everyone on public holidays. We need to try that same approach to lift NZ’s poor productivity.

Climate adaptation projects sometimes exacerbate the problems they try to solve – a new tool hopes to correct that

Ritodhi Chakraborty, University of Canterbury; Claire Burgess, University of Canterbury

Preliminary findings show that managed retreat, structural flood protection and climate-resilient development projects are most at risk of maladaptation.

As the Israel-Gaza crisis worsens and the UN remains impotent, what are NZ’s diplomatic options?

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Robert G. Patman, University of Otago

Liberal democracies need to work with the countries in the Middle East to build a long-term solution to the ongoing Israel-Gaza crisis.

A red card could ruin the Rugby World Cup final – the game needs fairer, safer rulings on the field

Clive Thompson, University of Cape Town

A conflict resolution expert – and rugby fan – explains how the game can restore spectacle and avoid farcical and dangerous mismatches due to players being sent off.

COVID proved the therapeutic potential of RNA technology – making it more available is the next goal

Rebecca McKenzie, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Considered a pipe dream not too long ago, research on RNA therapeutics is progressing rapidly. Now a new manufacturing protocol will help researchers to advance the technology.

Too many products are easier to throw away than fix – NZ consumers deserve a ‘right to repair’

Alexandra Sims, University of Auckland; Trish O'Sullivan, Massey University

Manufacturers have too much legal freedom to sell products that don’t last or are hard to repair. It’s time local law caught up with global efforts to address this environmental and consumer issue.

From our foreign editions

Collaborative water management can be a building block for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Clive Lipchin, Tel Aviv University; Richard Friend, University of York

As the war between Hamas and Israel grinds forward, two experts explain how Israelis and Palestinians have cooperated to tackle their region’s water challenges.

The Beetaloo gas field is a climate bomb. How did CSIRO modelling make it look otherwise?

Bill Hare, Murdoch University

In May, the Northern Territory government greenlit the mammoth Beetaloo Basin fracking project. But they did so based on a report with optimistic projections on offsets and emissions.

We need a single list of all life on Earth – and most taxonomists now agree on how to start

Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University; Aaron M. Lien, University of Arizona

Only after a species is identified and listed by taxonomists can it be protected. Yet we still don’t have one globally agreed-upon list of every species. A new 74-nation survey points to the solution.

What is ‘fried rice syndrome’? A microbiologist explains this type of food poisoning – and how to avoid it

Enzo Palombo, Swinburne University of Technology

‘Fried rice syndrome’ refers to food poisoning from a bacterium called Bacillus Cereus, which becomes a risk when cooked food is left at room temperature for too long.

Japanese manhole covers are painted with flowers, bridges, mountains and mascots – and now they’re for sale

Martyn Smith, University of Sheffield

These popular street ornaments speak to a 1960s urban planning philosophy as well as to the commodification of nostalgia.

Carbon budget for 1.5°C will run out in six years at current emissions levels – new research

Chris Smith, University of Leeds; Robin Lamboll, Imperial College London

For a two-in-three chance of staying within 1.5°C, the budget shrinks to one-and-a-half years.

Victims of the green energy boom? The Indonesians facing eviction over a China-backed plan to turn their island into a solar panel ‘ecocity’

Nikita Sud, University of Oxford

The international quest for green energy is reliant on ‘sacrificial zones’ in developing countries.

In the Israel-Hamas war, children are the ultimate pawns – and ultimate victims

Omer Bartov, Brown University

For Jewish people, Hamas’ violence against children was reminiscent of the Holocaust. For Palestinians, The Israel Defense Force’s killing their children reminds them of a painful past, too.

Revelations about Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ancestry is having a devastating impact on Indigenous communities across Canada

Lori Campbell, University of Regina

The CBC report on iconic singer Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ancestry is having deep impact in multiple ways across Indigenous lands across Canada.

TB vaccine: WHO expert explains why it’s taken 100 years for a scientific breakthrough, and why it’s such a big deal

Charles Shey Wiysonge, Stellenbosch University

In 2021 10.6 million people developed TB and 1.6 million died from the disease. Now, for the first time in 100 years, there are promising signs of a vaccine breakthrough.