Regardless of political tribe or orientation, few serious observers would dispute that history will record Jacinda Ardern as one of New Zealand’s most significant and successful prime ministers of the modern era.

Her resignation yesterday – a shock to some, not so much to others – capped six years of leadership that would have tested a veteran politician, let alone a young and largely untried opposition MP, elevated abruptly to the top spot by a party then desperate to break a cycle of failure and defeat.

As political scientists Grant Duncan and Richard Shaw discuss, the events and challenges Ardern steered the country through – in particular the Christchurch terrorist attack in 2019 and the first years of pandemic uncertainty and risk – are undoubtedly a large part of her legacy. But her revival of the Labour Party’s fortunes ranks right up there.

Yet even a leader as instinctively empathetic and as gifted a communicator as Ardern could not withstand the fallout from COVID’s culture wars and economic impacts. While still very popular, she also became a lightning rod for the very worst in the Kiwi political psyche.

And so Jacinda Ardern leaves as she arrived – trying to safeguard her party’s fortunes, taking one for the team, and making this election year a whole lot less predictable than it might have been. No one will begrudge her the time with her family she’ll now be freer to enjoy.

Finlay Macdonald

New Zealand Editor

‘The shoes needing filling are on the large side of big’ – Jacinda Ardern’s legacy and Labour’s new challenge

Richard Shaw, Massey University

Leaving on her own terms may be Jacinda Ardern’s final triumph, and one more part of a rich, complex political legacy.

Ardern’s resignation as New Zealand prime minister is a game changer for the 2023 election

Grant Duncan, Massey University

Ardern’s resignation will come as a shock to many, given the international reputation she earned over the past five years. But it’s less of a surprise for close watchers of NZ politics.

Ukraine war: supply of advanced tanks will give Kyiv an edge over Russia and move it closer to Nato

Frank Ledwidge, University of Portsmouth

New supplies of advanced weaponry and training will further integrate Ukraine into Nato’s defensive system.

China’s population is now inexorably shrinking, bringing forward the day the planet’s population turns down

Xiujian Peng, Victoria University

One scenario has China’s population halving by the end of the century, another has it falling by two-thirds.

Victorians won’t miss myki, but what will ‘best practice’ transport ticketing look like?

Neil G Sipe, The University of Queensland

The Victorian government has announced it is replacing the state’s public transport ticketing system. So what essential features should a state-of-the-art system offer users?

How often should you change up your exercise routine?

Mandy Hagstrom, UNSW Sydney; Mitchell Gibbs, UNSW Sydney

All things considered, the traditional approach of changing your program every 12 weeks might actually make sense in order to prevent plateaus. However, there is no hard and fast rule.

Could feral animals in Australia become distinct species? It’s possible – and we’re seeing some early signs

Bill Bateman, Curtin University

Feral cats double the size of domestic tabbies. Cane toads with longer legs. And dingoes with flexible joints. ‘Selection pressure’ is at work on introduced animals.

Health + Medicine

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    John Quiggin, The University of Queensland; Flavio Menezes, The University of Queensland

    Known as parallel importing, importing goods directly from overseas suppliers lowers costs and increases supply, which is what Australia’s electric vehicle market needs to catch up with the world.

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