Nau mai, haere mai.

As I write, New Zealand still has no formal government coalition agreement, let alone new ministers of health and education. But when those positions are announced, here’s an early suggestion: they should make a habit of talking to each other.

If you read Sarah Williams and Leon Benade on our hopelessly siloed health and education sectors, you’ll see why. Good health and good educational outcomes are inextricably linked. Healthy kids learn better, and better learning leads to better health and wellbeing in later life.

Closing that virtuous circle, Williams and Benade argue, should begin at primary school. The wisdom of integrating basic health services with early formal education – and requiring the respective ministries to cooperate by law in the interests of children – is backed up by years of international research and evidence.

Given the educational and health challenges faced by too many young New Zealanders, the authors write, “this less fragmented and more holistic approach would be more cost-effective than the present system which sees too many fall through the gaps.”

Finlay Macdonald

New Zealand Editor

Health and education are closely linked – NZ needs to integrate them more in primary schools

Sarah Jill Williams, Auckland University of Technology; Leon Benade, Auckland University of Technology

New Zealand’s health and education sectors are largely siloed and separate. But all the evidence points to collaboration within schools leading to better health and educational outcomes for children.

The rule of law is fundamental to a free society – so why don’t NZ courts always uphold it?

Allan Beever, Auckland University of Technology

Court decisions based on a judge’s discretion rather than the letter of the law are increasingly common. But this risks undermining some basic liberties.

NZ wants more seasonal workers – but Pacific nations no longer want to be the ‘outposts’ that ‘grow’ them

Apisalome Movono, Massey University; Regina Scheyvens, Massey University; Sophie Auckram, Massey University

The new government is likely to increase the numbers of workers coming to New Zealand on seasonal work schemes. But the impact on Pacific economies and communities is now too great to be ignored.

Lost voices: ethnic diversity in the New Zealand parliament will decline after the 2023 election

Alexander Tan, University of Canterbury; Neel Vanvari, University of Canterbury

While Māori have seen a steady increase in representation in parliament since the beginning of MMP, other ethnic minorities have experienced uneven growth. The new parliament will see a step back.

We’re burning too much fossil fuel to fix by planting trees – making ‘net zero’ emissions impossible with offsets

Mike Joy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

The idea that harm done today can be offset in the future is based on a basic misunderstanding of the carbon cycle. Planting more trees is important – but it’s no substitute for cutting emissions.

Fake news didn’t play a big role in NZ’s 2023 election – but there was a rise in ‘small lies’

Mona Krewel, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

We found the number of “big lies” – also known as fake news – didn’t increase in 2023 compared to 2020. But we did spot more “small lies” this time. Here’s what to look out for in coming elections.

From our foreign editions

Denial is over. Climate change is happening. But why do we still act like it’s not?

Celeste Young, Victoria University; Roger Jones, Victoria University

Climate denial is passe. But why do so many of us know the climate crisis is upon us – and live like it isn’t?

Disinformation campaigns are undermining democracy. Here’s how we can fight back

Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol; John Cook, The University of Melbourne

When people are pervasively disinformed, the very foundations of democracy can end up on shaky ground.

The 15-minute city is a popular planning approach, but relies on ableist assumptions

Ronald Norman Buliung, University of Toronto

The idea of the 15-minute city has become popular globally. But this approach relies on ableist assumptions and doesn’t reflect inclusive urban design.

South Africa’s police are losing the war on crime – here’s how they need to rethink their approach

Guy Lamb, Stellenbosch University

Government departments, civil society groups and the private sector should pool resources and work together in a co-ordinated manner to prevent violent crime.

How movies use music to manipulate your memory

Libby Damjanovic, Lund University

A sad song coupled with a happy movie scene can become strangely memorable.

JFK 60 years on: his leadership style and the reality behind the myths

Leo McCann, University of York; Simon Mollan, University of York

JFK’s leadership style has been hugely influential, acting as a model emulated by subsequent presidents including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Immune health is all about balance – an immunologist explains why both too strong and too weak an immune response can lead to illness

Aimee Pugh Bernard, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Dietary supplements claim to be able to ‘boost your immune system’ to combat disease. But attaining immune balance through a healthy lifestyle and vaccination is a safer bet to keep in good health.

In America, national parks are more than scenic − they’re sacred. But they were created at a cost to Native Americans

Thomas S. Bremer, Rhodes College

The idea of Manifest Destiny inspired Americans to push west, leading to the creation of the first national parks. But those beliefs spelled removal for many Native American groups.