8.10 Prof Kim Mulholland: are vaccine passports worthwhile?

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Photo: Supplied

Vaccine passports that prove a person's Covid-19 immunisation status are expected to be available from December for New Zealanders who want to travel abroad. In Australia, the government is working to have a vaccine passport system in place within the next few weeks as the country looks to resume international jet-setting.

However, with the Delta variant becoming dominant around the world and fully vaccinated people becoming infected with Covid-19, questions are being raised about the effectiveness of the vaccines and whether vaccine passports are actually worthwhile.

Professor Kim Mulholland is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, and Professor of Child Health and Vaccinology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is also a member of the World Health Organisation's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which advises the WHO on overall vaccine policies and strategies.

New Zealand's 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code.

New Zealand's 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code. Photo: 123rf

8.35 Dr Sue Stuart-Smith: the role of gardening in mental health

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, gardener and literature lover who, in her much hailed UK bestseller The Well Gardened Mind brings all three passions together to look at the relationship between gardening and mental health. Stuart-Smith’s book ranges widely, from bringing green spaces into housing developments, to gardens in prisons, and their use in people’s recovery from trauma. 

Stuart-Smith studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor and working in the UK National Health Service for many years. She is married to celebrated garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith, and over the last 30 years the couple have created the world-renowned Barn Garden in Hertfordshire.

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Photo: Provided

9.05 Playing Favourites with outgoing DOC boss Lou Sanson

Lou Sanson has had a life-long love affair with nature. He started working in conservation in 1971, working as a track cutter in Copland Valley and then for the Forest Service. From 1987, he helped set up DOC as Invercargill’s first district conservator, and in 2002 headed Antarctica New Zealand, before being appointed DOC director-general in 2013. Now he’s hanging up his hat at DOC, and is joining the show to reflect on some highs and lows during his time, and play some favourite songs.

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Photo: Supplied

10.05 Christina Lamb: reflecting on the last 20 years in Afghanistan

On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, British war correspondent and author Christina Lamb finds herself back in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul. 

When the attacks happened in 2001, Lamb was in Portugal having just arrived from the Amazon where she was on sabbatical to write a book. Lamb rushed to Afghanistan, and entered the country as the US began its bombing campaign and the Taliban were starting to fall. She says it’s heartbreaking coming back and seeing the current situation with Taliban everywhere and no women to be seen - leaving one to wonder what the last 20 years was all about.

Christina Lamb is chief foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times and author of several best-selling books including Our Bodies, Their Battlefield and Farewell Kabul.

Author Christina Lamb

Author Christina Lamb Photo: Supplied/Carline Forbes

10.35 Ahmed Rashid: what's next for the Taliban? 

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Photo: Zuma press/ Imago Images

Ahmed Rashid’s bestselling 2000 book Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia was used extensively by American analysts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The Lahore-based journalist and writer has been covering the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan since 1979 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration in relation to the Iraq war and the neglect he believes this led to in terms of the Taliban. 

Rashid was a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review for more than 20 years, and now writes for many foreign and Pakistani newspapers. Rashid appears in the series Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror, currently screening on Netflix.

Taliban members pose for a photo after they took over Panjshir Valley, the only province the group had not seized during its sweep last month in Afghanistan on September 6, 2021.

Taliban members pose for a photo after they took over Panjshir Valley, the only province the group had not seized during its sweep last month in Afghanistan on September 6, 2021. Photo: AFP / 2021 Anadolu Agency

11.05 Lucy Blakiston: Shit You Should Care About an Instagram hit

Lucy Blakiston is co-founder of Shit You Should Care About, an Instagram account based in New Zealand that has more than 3.3 million followers. To put that into context, that's double the Prime Minister’s and well ahead of Taika Waititi. The account was set up back in 2018 when the co-founders were in their teens. Now Blakiston runs it full-time.

The group’s mission is genuine: to explain world news they want to better understand, mixing that in with things they love, like reality show Love Island. A new project for them is Extremely Online, a web series made in collaboration with The Spinoff. Hosted by Blakiston, the weekly episodes dive into “the weird corners of the internet in words we can all understand" such as robot influencer Miquela, crypto-currency, and Neurolink. 


11.35 Dr Matt Baker: elephant trunks and DNA data storage

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Photo: Supplied

Sydney-based New Zealander Dr Matt Baker joins the show for a chat about some of the latest science news. This week he looks at elephant trunks and a recent study that shows they can suck up water at incredible speeds of around 540km per hour; how the Mars rover Perseverance managed to nab a sample from Jezero Crater and scientists hope it might hold traces of ancient microbial life; and DNA could be the answer to our digital data storage woes.

Dr Baker is the Scientia Research Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales. He has a doctorate from Oxford, where he studied Bacterial Flagellar Motor, a nanoscale rotary electric motor which makes bacteria swim.

Wild African elephant in the wilderness

Photo: 123rf


Books mentioned on this show:

The Well-Gardened Mind
Written by Sue Stuart-Smith
ISBN: 9780008100711
Published by HarperCollins

Our Bodies, Their Battlefield
Written by Christina Lamb
ISBN: 9780008300012
Published by HarperCollins

Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World
Written by Christina Lamb
ISBN: 9780007256945
Published by HarperCollins

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
Written by Ahmed Rashid
ISBN: 9780300163681
Published by Penguin


Songs featured on this show:

Wasn't Born to Follow
The Byrds
Played at 9.15am

Sound of Silence
Played at 9.25am

Perfect Day
Lou Reed
Played at 9.40am

Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town
The Killers
Played at 9.55am

On That Day
Leonard Cohen
Played at 10.52am

Harry Styles
Played at 11.32am