Welcome to Emerson Online

There’s no bluff and bluster and no punches pulled.
He tells it as he sees it.

His opinions are entirely his own and he welcomes your feedback.

New blogs will be posted as they happen.

Click to find out why Emerson is online.

Alan Emerson tells it how it is. There’s no bluff and bluster and no punches pulled. He tells it as he sees it.

Welcome to Emerson Online

The aim of this blog is to inform those interested in provincial New Zealand of stories and opinions of relevance to them. My opinions are entirely my own and I welcome your feedback. Blogs will be posted as they happen.

I’m not associated with any political party, I’m not your traditional reporter and I’m not afraid of anyone. If it needs to be said I’ll say it.

There’s no bluff and bluster and no punches pulled. I tell it as I see it.

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Aussie Banks Need to Step In Line

I can’t believe the attitude of the Aussie banks. The governor of our Reserve Bank wants to improve the ratios thus making the economy safer. He also wants deposits guaranteed to keep us in line with the rest of the world.

The howls from the banks has been extreme despite most submissions supporting the move.

ANZ has even gone as far to suggest stepping back from the NZ market. I don’t believe it. At best it is Aussie bullying, at worst it is extreme arrogance.

In addition they’re taking us for idiots.

The banks are, humbly speaking, venal. They make 20% more from Kiwi’s than they do from Ockers. Are they going to give that away?

Further I’d respectfully suggest that ANZ aren’t in any position to criticise anyone.

They had their ratios wrong, a serious offense and the chair, John Key, blamed it on someone quite junior.

The departure of their chief executive was a mess. The Board was Missing in Action.

They sold the now retired CEO a house for less than its value which should concern shareholders and the IRD.

Both highly respected director Kerry MacDonald and Deputy PM Winston Peters has called for Key’s resignation.

In any industry other than banking that would have happened.

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New Gun Lobby a Waste of Rations

In the believe it or not category we have a new gun lobby in New Zealand. They want the introduction of a mandatory gun register, a ban on all semi-automatic weapons and a shortened three year registration period for gun owners.

For the record I don’t have a problem with a gun register, you can’t control some introduced pests with a bolt action rifle and why have a three year registration for gun owners when you have a passport and drivers license for ten. Cars kill more people in New Zealand than guns do.

Some of the quotes from the group are, well, nauseating.

‘As a parent I don’t want children and teachers to view shooter lock down drills as an everyday part of school life’ was one quote. One could respectfully ask for the evidence behind the quote.

Another who is a lecturer at Otago made the point that ”gun owners and non-gun owners alike saw the benefits of living in a non-violent society’.

What an asinine statement and it is important to realise that the vast majority of violence in NZ has nothing to do with guns.

A third member told us that it was important to remember ‘that all guns held illegally in NZ were once legal’. She added ‘we have no smuggling of guns into NZ’.

Wrong in fact. There has been considerable documented smuggling of guns.

I suppose on the bright side if the three do-gooders are making ridiculous statements about gun control it will keep them off the streets. If they’re not going on about guns who knows what they might do. Require teachings of the Flat Earth Society to be compulsory in schools.

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New Gun Laws Won’t Work

I’ve written two Farmers Weekly articles on the new gun laws and why they won’t work. For a start I believe the approach by the government, non-government politicians and the police was both cynical and opportunistic and as the old adage states, ‘rushed legislation is bad legislation’.

Semi-automatic rifles and shotguns are now illegal but that won’t solve anything. A Stuff investigation into guns in homicides between 2004 and 2019 showed 35 of the incidents involved shotguns and 33 involved 22 callibre rifles. They are both still legal.

Correspondingly less than 10 involved semi-automatics, about the same number as handguns that are illegal.

Stuff also identified that a third of the shootings involved gangs or other criminal activity. Will they hold an arms license? I’d suggest not. Would they hand in illegal weapons? Not a snowballs chance in hell.

They also found that ‘the vast majority of firearms aren’t registered in New Zealand’ meaning the authorities have absolutely no idea where most of the guns are whether they are legal or not.

So we have to coin a phrase a complete buggers muddle sponsored in the main by a gullible and gung ho minister of police, Stuart Nash.

It is actually worse than that.

The government is spending around $160 million to control pests on public land. You and I are paying for it.

To support that Department of Conservation Officers and Regional Council staff can have access to semi-automatics.

Farmers have four million hectares of land at risk from pests and are given scant opportunity to enjoy the same largesse that public land does.

In the meantime armed police are taking Rambo like action against legal gun owners.

What will happen next?

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NZ Farmers Have No Friends in Parliament

I’ve written a Farmers Weekly article on the so-called reform of the Arms Act. You can read it on Friday but I do make the point that there is no place for military style semi-automatics, exploding ammunition or large magazines. It was parliament that allowed them.

There is, however, the need for semi-automatics on farms to control goats, pigs and deer.

The parliamentary brains trust that suggested semi-automatic 22’s would do the job have no idea.

Then we read that Doc staff, Regional Council staff and contractors will be allowed to have semi-automatics but farmers won’t. We can phone a contractor.

As any idiot knows that’s not how it’s done. Getting rid of pests takes many hours in isolated areas. The cost of hiring a contractor would be prohibitive.

In addition why do our politicians want to get rid of pests on public land while ignoring them on the productive rural sector?

It seems to me they are there for perks, position, and privilege, certainly not performance.

And where are the rural based politicians and those in the provinces.

I’m unimpressed with Damien O’Connor on this issue but as far as I can tell he is the only person in the Labour party with a farming background.

Where are Nathan Guy, David Carter, Barbara Kuriger, Hamish Walker or Todd Muller?

Where are Shane Jones and Mark Patterson from NZ First.

What that tells us is that there is not one politician in parliament willing to stand up for farmers. We’re on our own and that brothers and sisters constitutes a crisis.

There is no party in the NZ Parliament that farmers can vote for – we’ve been sold out by the lot.

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The USA is Running Right off the Rails with its Foreign Policy

I’m really pleased our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is building bridges in China. They are our biggest market and I believe that despite the hysteria from some they are a far more benign influence on world politics than the USA.

The cries of ‘traditional allies’ from some are hollow. I’d sooner be friends with China than the USA over its current foreign policy, the Brits with Brexit or the EU over protectionism.

We have an absolute shambles currently in Venezuela as a result of American interference which has in turn encouraged Russia. It’s the business of neither.

Syria has just finished a bloody chapter and who won that?

Iraq and Afghanistan has achieved little, certainly for the USA.

The American’s have been sycophantic to the Israelis which might make them feel good but is a little more than a two fingered salute to world opinion.

It seems paranoid for whatever reason about Iran and has imposed draconian boycotts. For the record I don’t have a problem with Iran. They are or could be a good market for New Zealand.

America doesn’t want Iran to be nuclear but I don’t see why not, Israel is.

It gets worse. Papers just revealed that the Trump administration is encouraging Saudi Arabia in the nuclear race. Why? They murder journalists they don’t like, are still in the dark ages and just recently they tapped Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos phone so they could embarrass him in the American media. One would have to ask why?

With all the above in mind I’m happy the PM is in China, I’m thrilled that unlike Australia we have an independent foreign policy and I’d sooner be friends with Beijing that Washington.

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Greenpeace Gets it Wrong

I was driving out of Auckland airport to be surprised by a billboard with the message ‘Ravensdown and Ballance Pollute Rivers’. It was from Greenpeace.

My view was that the billboard was wrong. Ravensdown and Ballance sell fertiliser, they don’t pollute anything., If you accept the Greenpeace message you then have to accept the sentence, ‘Ford and Toyota kill people’. Our road deaths last year stands at 379 with many of those killed driving a Toyota or a Ford.

The reality is that Ford and Toyota sell cars, end of story.

I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, (ASA) who found in my favour. I’d never dealt with the ASA before but found them independent and professional.

When the judgement came out you’d have thought by the Greenpeace reaction that the sky was about to fall in.

Greenpeace campaigner, one Gen Toop claimed the ASA decision could have a ‘chilling effect on environmental and social advocacy’.

The reality is that environmental and social advocates have to be truthful, honest and accountable, just like everyone else.

She added that it was ‘very disturbing that the ASA had taken the position that companies which pollute the environment are above criticism’ adding ‘free speech is a vital part of our democratic society’.

For a start the ASA did not take the position that companies that pollute the environment are above suspicion. They said the Greenpeace billboards were wrong in fact.

I agree that free speech is a vital part of our democratic society but again you have to be honest, truthful and accurate otherwise you have anarchy.

Greenpeace have lodged an appeal against the decision which is their right.

The Greenpeace release concludes with a rant about synthetic nitrogen which is the subject of my current article in Farmers’ Weekly. It is on the website.

The reality is that according to OECD research half the world relies on nitrogen fertiliser to survive.

Going to the Greenpeace website they wax lyrically on the evils of nitrogen quoting a United Nations report. I read the said report and my take on it is way different from Greenpeace.

So my take on Greenpeace is they’re there purely to farm donations from the gullible with their inaccurate and emotive ramblings which are not factually based.

I also wonder where Greenpeace supremo Dr Russell Norman stands on the issues Greenpeace is currently involved with.

When he was in parliament I found his statements measured and factual although I didn’t always agree with his conclusions.

With Greenpeace their statements are anything but.

For more on the Greenpeace saga you’ll need to read my next article in Farmers Weekly. It’s due out late Friday.

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Don’t Arm the Police

We’ve had considerable news and commentary over the last week about arming Police officers. I am strongly against it.

The main reason I am so strongly opposed is the lack of meaningful training and the gung ho attitude of the Police.

You just have to look at their record.

Just last week they put two shots into the top story of a two story building when people were having a meeting on the ground floor.

The target was on the street and not six metres high.

The Police excuse – it was a ‘panic shot’. Properly trained firearms users don’t panic.

We then had the officer who shot himself in the foot. If he’d been in the military he’d be Court Marshaled before he took a second breath.

We had an officer in Hawkes Bay who accidentally shot a person he was guarding lying harmlessly on the ground. The round drilled his shoulder. The officers’ excuse – ‘the safety catch was faulty’. You don’t rely on safety catches and rifles don’t fire unless you pull the trigger.

He got away with it.

Then there was the case in Auckland where an innocent bystander was killed and another wounded. They were some distance from the target who didn’t receive as much as a scratch.

In Kawerau we had a lone gunman wound four Police officers before giving himself up. That shows in my humble book an eye watering degree of incompetence by the Police.

I could go on. Last week we had all Christchurch Police armed which was ridiculous. A cavalier Minister in the form of Stuart Nash supported it.

We then had in the believe it or not category the Police union releasing a ‘survey’ where 66% of their members supported arming themselves.

One should remind them they’re servants of democracy and not leaders in the arms race.

It is all quite farcical. The highest support for arming the Police came from road policing at 73%. So a cop giving me a speeding ticket wants to be armed! It is ridiculous in the extreme.

It is important to consider that when we sent troops to Bougainville in the middle of a civil war NZ Defence mad a decision not to arm the soldiers who were I might add were highly trained in the use of firearms.

The situation was solved by negotiation and no soldiers were shot at.

My concern at the saga is you and I don’t know how many weapons are available to the Police, how often they are used and for what.

My further concern is that the arm the Police movement is being driven by the Police and not the democratic process.

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New Zealand Infrastructure Commission is a Great Idea

 

I’m really pleased that we are going to have an independent Infrastructure Commission that will deal with our considerable infrastructure needs.

I’ve been concerned that the money we spend on infrastructure in the past and there’s billions of dollars of it is more the subject of political whim than rational thought.

A prime example of political whim was the previous government’s Roads of National Significance (RONS).

These roads were designed to elicit votes more than freeing up traffic and wasted billions.

There’s also the problem with Auckland where we allowed massive immigration while totally ignoring infrastructure needs.

Minister Shane Jones tells us that the Infrastructure Commission will have two broad aims, strategy and planning and procurement and delivery support. They are functions we desperately need.

I remain totally unconvinced of the abilities of the New Zealand Transport Agency to achieve much and having the Commission involved is extremely positive in my view.

I also thought the makeup of the Commission was inspired. The people the government has appointed are entirely capable of getting the job done.

It isn’t as if we don’t need a high powered independent organisation to oversee infrastructure development.

Treasury tells us in that the government will be spending about $42 million on infrastructure from now until 2022. It is good that in independent panel is overseeing that rather than a hide-bound bureaucracy.

I view the creation of the NZ Infrastructure Commission both positive and vital to NZ going forward.

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Roundup Isn’t harmful Despite the Christchurch City Councils’ View

The front page of the normally conservative Christchurch Press had me in stitches. ‘Weedkiller ban busting Christchurch Budget’ it read.

We were then told that ‘phasing out toxic weedkiller has left the Garden City with a costly fix for getting rid of pest plants’.

Toxic according t my dictionary is ‘harmful or deadly – poisonous’. Roundup the chemical they’re talking about is neither harmful, deadly nor poisonous.

Then in the believe it or not category we read that the cost of getting rid of weeds by hand was costing an extra $two million over just a six month period.

You can only wonder what’s going to happen in Christchurch next, digging fields by hand instead of using Roundup to chemically plough. They obviously couldn’t use tractors because of the environmental footprint.

Looking at the scientific evidence abound Roundup. If you drank it 80% is excreted in 24 hours.

Despite the Christchurch City Council hysteria about it causing cancer the American Environmental Protection Agency said ‘Roundup was unlikely to cause cancer’. The European Chemicals Agency said ‘the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify Roundup as carcinogenic’.

The fact is that on the cancer rating scale alcohol is one followed by Roundup, red meat and frying.

My other question as the City Council seems to be using tarot cards rather than scientific fact is to ask how many of the gardeners and vegetable growers in the Garden City regularly use Roundup?

I’d imagine a lot. Mind you they haven’t the unlimited funds the council has to pay people to hand weed.

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Our Future is with China not Five Eyes

I can remember as a young journalist reporting on then Prime Minister Norman Kirk’s invitation to China to set up an embassy here. We were the first Western Nation to do so. Then National Party leader, Robert Muldoon was apoplectic talking at length of reds under the bed and the loss of democracy as we know it.

We then became the first country to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with China that was worth a massive $15.3 billion last year. It was a quarter of our total exports.

There are other advantages to New Zealand as well with, until recently, many Chinese tourists.

Then came a road bump. Spark wanted to develop a 5G telecommunications network using Chinese technology in the form of Huawei. New Zealand needs 5G and Huawei has the technology.

Sadly that wasn’t to happen due in the main to a chicken licken approach from our spy agency the GCSB.

Huawei responded by offering to build the technology in NZ using locals. No-one could accuse Spark of being an agency of the Chinese government. It is a local company employing locals.

Sounded good to me but no we stuck with our Huawei 5G boycott.. Now China is responding as you would expect by making life difficult at its borders and warning tourists against visiting here.

The problem I have is that no-one has explained how the wheels are going to fall off with a Huawei 5G network. A vast number of Kiwi’s use Huawei phones now and nothing drastic has happened. Are we going back to the good old days of reds under beds and the domino theory?

My simple view is I don’t believe the spy agency. Over the years I’ve had the threat of the Yellow Peril and that was decades ago. Then we had the Russian Bear poised to invade. There was the Domino Theory that said if Vietnam fell to the communists the whole of Asia would succumb. It fell to the communists nearly 50 years ago and nothing happened. Since then we’ve had the threat of India and Indonesia. As with all the other threats nothing has happened.

So our security partners in Five Eyes don’t want us to indulge China. So what? Our main threat from a foreign power is likely to be in the form of a biosecurity incursion not bombs. I don’t see a threat from China.

We need to re-establish our close links with China and do it now. That is our future.

In the current world order my view is that China is a lot more stable and progressive than a lot of countries and that includes the USA.

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