Nau mai haere mai, welcome to this week’s newsletter.

Politics watchers and those of us with friends and relatives in Australia – and that’s a lot of New Zealanders – will have at least half an eye on our big neighbour’s coming election on May 21. What happens in Canberra always has an impact here, directly or indirectly, so the outcome matters well beyond a couple of news cycles.

This year also holds the promise, at least according to current polling, of a change of government, meaning Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party might finally form a government after three successive losses. While Scott Morrison’s ruling coalition is something of a known quantity, it’s fair to ask, after so long in opposition, just what kind of Labor government Australia might get.

That’s the question Rob Mainwaring, Charlie Lees and Grant Duncan sought to answer by looking at the political rhetoric of the three major labour party leaders around the world – Albanese, Keir Starmer in the UK, and our own Jacinda Ardern. Their analysis reveals “a ‘thin’ labourism in relation to the parties’ social-democratic traditions” across all three, born of a desire not “to ‘frighten the horses’ of capitalism”.

That’s particularly relevant here as finance minister Grant Robertson prepares to deliver the Budget just two days before Australians go to the polls, and we’ll be starting our pre-Budget coverage next week.

Until then, take care and mā te wā.

Finlay Macdonald

New Zealand Senior Editor & NZ Editor: Politics, Business + Arts

Centre-left parties worldwide have struggled to reinvent themselves – what kind of ALP is fighting this election?

Rob Manwaring, Flinders University; Charlie Lees, Flinders University; Grant Duncan, Massey University

Anxious not to be easy targets for their pro-business opponents, labour parties everywhere now run on a ‘thin ideological platform’. Anthony Albanese’s ALP is no exception.

The value of virtue: 7 reasons why Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s crisis leadership has been so effective

Suze Wilson, Massey University; Toby Newstead, University of Tasmania

Inspirational and brave, the Ukrainian president exhibits all seven ‘virtues’ of effective crisis leadership.

Anticipating a side effect makes it more likely you’ll experience it – this could contribute to vaccine hesitancy

Hamish Wilson, University of Otago

Studies show if medical staff talk about potential side effects in negative terms, the patient’s experience can worsen. We need to consider this ‘nocebo’ effect when talking about COVID vaccinations.

Fiji is officially ‘open for happiness’ – will that apply to its tourism workers too?

Apisalome Movono, Massey University; Regina Scheyvens, Massey University

Despite losing jobs, many Fijians in tourism-dependent areas reported greater well-being during the pandemic. As tourists return, what are the lessons?

Understanding Ukraine’s symbolic fight to return to Europe, as the EU marks 18 years since its ‘big bang’ enlargement

Mathew Doidge, University of Canterbury; Serena Kelly, University of Canterbury

For all its imperfection, the EU still represents the best chance for regional peace and stability – little wonder Ukraine wants to join.

From our foreign editions

Gentleman pirates, shipwrecks and Stede Bonnet: what Our Flag Means Death gets right about the Golden Age of Piracy

Terry Goldsworthy, Bond University; Gaelle Brotto

The life of the famous pirate Stede Bonnet has been turned into a ridiculous comedy in Our Flag Means Death – but who was the real gentleman pirate from history?

How to boost your attention and ability to function with meditation, exercise and sleep

Colin McCormick, Dalhousie University

Research highlights the importance of daily meditation, exercise and sleep for improving executive functioning, a component of attention that helps people focus.

Why Doug Ford will once again win the Ontario election

Robert Danisch, University of Waterloo

Ontario goes to the polls in a month, and Doug Ford will likely win again. Why? Because the Liberal and NDP leaders have failed to connect with the people of Ontario the way Ford has.

Drivers of electoral violence in Kenya: red flags to watch out for

Emma Elfversson, Uppsala University

To predict - and prevent - election-related violence, it’s important to first understand the key drivers of conflict.

Angela Rayner, porn in parliament and a depressing week for British politics

Lindsey Blumell, City, University of London

Labour’s deputy leader was forced to justify her own response to comments made about her.

Satellites over the Amazon capture the choking of the ‘house of God’ by the Belo Monte Dam – they can help find solutions, too

Pritam Das, University of Washington; Faisal Hossain, University of Washington; Hörður Bragi Helgason, University of Washington; Shahzaib Khan, University of Washington

When Indigenous peoples lose their river flow to dams, satellite programs like Landsat can help them fight for their resources.

From dummy spits to a ‘sleaze machine’: Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers is a delectable account of a soap opera family

Giselle Bastin, Flinders University

A new book telling the story of the last 25 years of the House of Windsor reveals a family that briefs against each other freely.

The photographer who fought the Sicilian Mafia for five decades

Robin Pickering-Iazzi, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Letizia Battaglia’s images of Mafia bloodshed made it impossible for people to turn a blind eye to the criminal outfit’s reign of terror.