Every weekday, The Detail makes sense of the big news stories.
This week, what the embattled Māori Health Authority actually does, how the Israel-Hamas war is affecting Palestinian and Jewish New Zealanders, the qualities and quirks of our German electoral system, why a Kiwi health drink was slapped down by food authorities, and the importance of keeping libraries alive as councils take a look at their books.
Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.
It was to be a gamechanger that would give Māori a strong voice in the health system.
But nearly 18 months on, the incoming National-led government wants to scrap Te Aka Whai Ora (the Māori Health Authority) saying it hasn't achieved anything worthwhile in its short existence.
Tom Kitchin speaks to RNZ In Depth te ao Māori journalist Ella Stewart, and two people working on the ground of Te Aka Whai Ora: Te Puea Winiata, the CEO of Auckland-based Māori health provider Turuki Health, and Hikitia Ropata, the chair of the Wellington-based Āti Awa Toa Hauora Partnership Board.
Sharon Brettkelly talks to Kiwis Tameem Shaltoni and Ben Kepes.
Shaltoni calls himself a Palestinian-New Zealander, born in Jordan, from a refugee family with relatives remaining in Gaza.
Kepes was born in New Zealand of Holocaust survivor parents, and has family in Israel.
Two very different sides of the Israel-Palestine divide; two stories that come from a background of trauma; two stories that have many similarities.
One commentator said it was "driving me to want to drink" and New Zealand needs to "cut through this crap with some sort of bloody chainsaw".
Others have lauded Aotearoa's electoral system, saying although it takes a long time, it's secure and accurate.
Tom Kitchin talks to NZ Herald deputy political editor Thomas Coughlan and NZ Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich about how well our electoral systems work, and if any changes are needed.
Ārepa's website is impressive.
It shows the three key ingredients in its drinks and powders: Neuroberry (trademarked) blackcurrant, pine bark extract or Enzogenol (trademarked), and L-theanine, a rare amino acid from green tea.
But at the bottom of the homepage is a note that the company behind the drink, Alphagen, has received a notice from government agency New Zealand Food Safety about the health claims over its Ārepa products and the labelling on them. It's the first time NZFS has had to use this provision of the Food Act 2014.
It says some of the claims made are in breach of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Sharon Brettkelly speaks to associate professor Nick Gant, a neuroscientist who ran the first randomised, controlled trial of the effects of a prototype of Ārepa – funded by the company in order to support its product claims.
Times are tight, for local councils as much as anyone, so it's not surprising they're running a ruler over all their services. That includes libraries.
From Auckland's Wayne Brown suggesting they could be staffed by volunteers; to Christchurch's Phil Mauger saying last month that community libraries were just "buildings with some books in them" as he proposed shutdowns; these community facilities seem to always bear the brunt of cost cuts.
Library lovers tend to leap to their defence, including author Rachael King who wrote an opinion piece in The Press championing books.
But some librarians, while welcoming the support, are pointing out that libraries are far more than just book repositories.
Alexia Russell and Tom Kitchin speak to Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa president Richard Misilei and author David Riley.
Long Read: Loss of Incidental Connections
This is The Detail's Long Read – one in-depth story read by us every weekend.
This week, it's 'Loss of Incidental Connections', an essay from Reconnecting Aotearoa: Loneliness and Connection in the Age of Social Distance, a new Bridget Williams Books text edited by Kathy Errington and Holly Walker.
Combining first-person accounts with research and evidence, Reconnecting Aotearoa brings together a set of writers to explore the importance of nurturing emotional and societal connections in Aotearoa, set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Writer Susan Strongman joins Alexia Russell to discuss the work and read her personal essay herself.
I call it clutter, dusty and chaotic. But almost everything in the house holds meaning for Mum, and I suspect these objects evoke fond memories for her, helping to fend off the loneliness that can creep into her life.
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