Nau mai, haere mai.

“You have voted for change,” National leader and prime minister-elect Christopher Luxon said on election night, and at one level that is obviously true. As Richard Shaw wrote the next day, “Labour’s 26.9% of the vote is barely half what it achieved just three years ago, and its second worst performance since 1969.”

National’s looming coalition challenges aside, though, just how much choice was really available to voters? Smaller parties such as the Greens and Te Pāti Māori did well, but they rely on Labour doing better in the head-to-head contest with National to have any real influence.

Meanwhile, Toby Boraman argues, the immediate policy differences between the major parties serve to mask a deeper consensus on the fundamental economic settings that determine the parameters of real change.

And while Labour under Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins did espouse alternative world views to the old neoliberal defaults, Boraman writes, it only differed from National by degrees when it came to taxation, interest rates, inflation and “fiscal responsibility”.

There will be more post-election coverage to come, of course, with final results due on November 3 when the shape of the next government will become clearer. For now, take care and mā te wā.

Finlay Macdonald

New Zealand Editor

NZ election 2023: Labour out, National in – either way, neoliberalism wins again

Toby Boraman, Massey University

Beneath the obvious policy differences between Labour and National lies a tacit consensus on fundamental economic settings. Until that changes, political choice will be constrained.

From a red tide in 2020 to blood on the floor in 2023 – NZ slams the door on Labour

Richard Shaw, Massey University

The final outcome of the general election may not be known for two weeks. But one thing is clear: the country has resoundingly rejected the government that led it through the pandemic.

NZ Election 2023: polls understated the right, but National-ACT may struggle for a final majority

Adrian Beaumont, The University of Melbourne

With final results awaiting the inclusion of special votes, the shape of New Zealand’s next parliament hangs in the balance. Here are the variables in play.

It’s National on the night as New Zealand turns right: 2023 election results at a glance

Veronika Meduna, The Conversation; Finlay Macdonald, The Conversation; Debrin Foxcroft, The Conversation; Matt Garrow, The Conversation

New Zealand has swung decisively back to the right at the 2023 general election. With official results pending, it seems National and ACT can still form a government without the help of NZ First.

We landed a camera on Venus before seeing parts of our own oceans – it’s time to ramp up observations closer to home

Craig Stevens, University of Auckland; Natalie Robinson, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

The rapid changes in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica highlight the urgency of better direct observations and measurements, beyond satellite monitoring and modelling.

Israel-Gaza crisis: NZ must condemn atrocities but keep pushing for a two-state solution

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato

New Zealand must be even-handed in its response to the catastrophe unfolding in Israel and Gaza, while still trying to keep hope of peace alive.

NZ police are using AI to catch criminals – but the law urgently needs to catch up too

Alexandra Sims, University of Auckland

Current laws governing policing don’t take into account the capacity of AI to process massive amounts of information quickly – leaving New Zealanders vulnerable to police overreach.

What makes a good political leader – and how can we tell before voting?

Suze Wilson, Massey University

Politics is about appearances as much as policy. But it’s possible to make an informed judgment about political leaders, if we know what to look for.

From our foreign editions

A reflexive act of military revenge burdened the US − and may do the same for Israel

Peter Mansoor, The Ohio State University

The US response to 9/11 included a declaration that America would destroy its enemies. The effort took decades, and thousands of lives on both sides, and never really succeeded.

AI is closer than ever to passing the Turing test for ‘intelligence’. What happens when it does?

Simon Goldstein, Australian Catholic University; Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini, Rutgers University

The Turing test, first proposed in 1950 by Alan Turing, was framed as a test that could supposedly tell us whether an AI system could ‘think’ like a human.

Could ‘marine cloud brightening’ reduce coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef?

Daniel Patrick Harrison, Southern Cross University

Australian is experimenting with marine cloud brightening to cool and shade the Great Barrier Reef. Here’s how it works.

Rising oil prices, surging inflation: The Arab embargo 50 years ago weaponized oil to inflict economic trauma

Jim Krane, Rice University; Mark Finley, Rice University

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine reprised the risks of energy weaponization, but the oil landscape today and energy security itself are changing.

The Exorcist: Believer is a ‘retcon’ film - it imagines none of the sequels exist. This sequel shouldn’t exist, either

Alexander Howard, University of Sydney

What seems at first blush to be an innovative approach to franchise movie-making is nothing more than a futile exercise in cinematic nostalgia.

Israel-Hamas war: history shows the dangers of a creeping occupation

Asaf Siniver, University of Birmingham

US president Joe Biden has warned that occupation would be a ‘big mistake’ – and history seems to agree.

Gangsters are the villains in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ but the biggest thief of Native American wealth was the US government

Torivio Fodder, University of Arizona

The Osage murders of the 1920s are just one episode in nearly two centuries of stealing land and resources from Native Americans. Much of this theft was guided and sanctioned by federal law.

Egypt’s Rafah crossing is a lifeline to Palestinians living in Gaza – but opening it is still unresolved

Lorenzo Navone, Université de Strasbourg

The Rafah crossing has historically played a pivotal role in easing the hardships faced by Gazans. Today, it represents an actual lifeline.