Nau mai haere mai.

There will be plenty of talk about crime and punishment as this election year unfolds. But it’s probably less likely we’ll hear much about criminal activity of the white-collar variety. That’s a strange state of affairs, given how much it costs the country every year.

As Lisa Marriott writes today, there is one particular kind of white-collar crime that deserves special attention, despite the apparent lack of political interest: cartels. These arrangements between companies not to compete can significantly distort markets and disadvantage consumers, and they definitely happen here.

But there’s an odd anomaly in the law that allows leniency and immunity for cartel participants who assist in a successful prosecution – not a luxury enjoyed by any other kind of criminal. Encouraging whistleblowing may be a good thing, Marriott argues, but surely not to the extent they benefit from such criminal activity while their cartel colleagues suffer the consequences.

There’s more to read here and on our homepage, including James Mehigan’s timely and fascinating explainer about how New Zealand and Australia could become republics but still remain in the Commonwealth. In fact, member countries don’t even need to have been part of the former British Empire!

Until next week, mā te wā.

Debrin Foxcroft

Deputy New Zealand Editor

White-collar criminals benefit from leniency provisions in NZ law – why the disparity with other kinds of crime?

Lisa Marriott, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Edward Willis, University of Otago

New Zealand has criminalised cartel behaviour. But by offering leniency to whistleblowers, the new rules are undermined.

Jim Chalmers hands down a budget for Anthony Albanese’s battlers

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The budget is aimed firmly at the most vulnerable and has a significant focus on women.

Busting a king-sized myth: why Australia and NZ could become republics – and still stay in the Commonwealth

James Mehigan, University of Canterbury

Not only can a republic be a member of the Commonwealth, even countries that were never part of the former British Empire are now eligible.

The end of offshore oil and gas exploration in NZ was hard won – but it remains politically fragile

Amanda Thomas, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Gradon Diprose, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research; Sophie Bond, University of Otago

Over a decade of protest led to the banning of fuel exploration in New Zealand waters. As this extract from a new book explains, that ‘win’ is still precarious and may depend on the election result.

Record low Antarctic sea ice is another alarming sign the ocean’s role as climate regulator is changing

Craig Stevens, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

The world’s oceans regulate our climate, but they are entering uncharted territory, with record surface warming and changes to Antarctica’s deep meltwater which drives global currents.

AI has potential to revolutionise health care – but we must first confront the risk of algorithmic bias

Mangor Pedersen, Auckland University of Technology

AI algorithms reinforce existing biases. Before they are introduced as routine tools in clinical care, we must establish ethical guidelines to reduce the risk of harm.

From our foreign editions

Australia’s housing crisis is deepening. Here are 10 policies to get us out of it

Dorina Pojani, The University of Queensland

There are no ‘silver bullet’ solutions to a crisis that has left both renters and owners struggling. Only a comprehensive package of bold policies can ensure all Australians are securely housed.

Perfect perfume or eau de cat’s bum? Why scents smell different and 4 fragrance tips

Magdalena Wajrak, Edith Cowan University

From surprising ingredients to chemical compounds. Here’s why your favourite perfume might not smell so sweet on your mum.

The exploitation of Hollywood’s writers is just another symptom of digital feudalism

David Arditi, University of Texas Arlington

The writers strike lays bare all the ills of working on one of the lowest rungs of the entertainment industry.

Clothes moths: Why I admire these persistent, destructive, difficult-to-eradicate and dull-looking pests

Isabel Novick, Boston University

An appreciation for the moths that chomp holes in your clothes. They eat the inedible, occupy the uninhabitable and overcome every evolutionary obstacle in their way.

Why three-day weekends are great for wellbeing – and the economy

Tony Syme, University of Salford; Maria Paola Rana, University of Salford

Shorter working weeks bring economic benefits but also boost employee wellbeing.

How British imperial history shaped Charles III’s coronation ceremony

Sean Lang, Anglia Ruskin University

The coronation will have echoes of empire, but represents an important stage in the modern monarchy’s move away from its shadow.

For better or worse, your dog’s behaviours can impact your quality of life

Renata Roma, Brock University

Companion dogs respond to their environments and their owners’ sense of well-being. When owners are stressed and anxious, dogs can exhibit undesirable behaviours.

Sudan’s conflict will have a ripple effect in an unstable region - and across the world

John Mukum Mbaku, Weber State University

Sudan’s current conflict will have economic, social and political ripple effects across a number of countries