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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Anti vax protest is mindless

The current protest in parliament grounds by anti vaxxers is stupid and why the media is giving them so much coverage is beyond me.

We’re told there are 1000 protesters which is insignificant. You’d get more spectators at a club rugby game in outback Wairarapas.

The reason they’re protesting is stupid too. ‘We don’t want the government telling us what to do’ is, at best, mindless.

The government tells you to drive on the left side of the road. You don’t want the government telling you what to do drive on the right. If that fails try running a few red lights. After all the government told you not to.

It’s even worse than that. You need a license to drive a car. The government doesn’t make you get a license but if you want to drive a car you need one. You need a medical degree to be a doctor. The government doesn’t say you have to have a medical degree but if you want to be a doctor you need one.

What’s the anti-vaxxers problem? The government isn’t saying you must get vaccinated. It is saying that if you want to go places and do things you need to be vaxxed. That’s well within their rights and isn’t intended to annoy people but keep them safe.

Finally if I park on the pavement in Wellington I get towed and fined. What have these anti-vax crowd got that I haven’t? Why aren’t they also arresting the rabble in parliament?

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Australian Cricket Scandals

I can remember the underarm incident of 40 years ago. Back then I couldn’t believe it and neither could the commentators. You couldn’t hit a six off the last ball of an innings at the MCG so why do it?

My belief is that Cricket isn’t a sport in Australia, it’s a blood match.

Back then I thought the actions despicable and I still do. The fact that no-one has apologised at player or official level is an indictment.

Then just twelve years ago we had Australian wicket keeper Brad Haddin’s dismissal of Neil Broome was even more distasteful than the under arm incident.

It’s not only players but officials too. Australian umpire Dick French didn’t award Danny Morrison a match winning wicket when it was clearly out.

Then just two years ago there was the ball tampering scandal which was blatant Australian cheating. Those responsible were hit over the wrist with a wet bus ticket such was the support of those actions by Australian Cricket.

Recently you’ve had some disgraceful sledging and the rubbing out of a batsman’s marks. Puerile at best but cheating.

So my advice to the ICC if they wanted to improve the image of world Cricket would be to ban Australia.

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The Carbon Footprint of Christmas

I got to thinking which is always dangerous this time of year about the carbon footprint of Christmas. Christmas trees especially.

If just one person in five has a pine tree as a Christmas tree that’s one million trees or 1000 hectares at 1000 trees per hectare. As in this area a three year pine tree has absorbed nine tonnes of carbon that’s 9000 tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere each and every Christmas. It’s a scandal.

Further if the average person’s annual carbon footprint is around nine tonnes of carbon a year that Christmas tree supply is equal to the total footprint of 1000 people.

Realistically an artificial Christmas tree would have required more carbon to manufacture so my figures are conservative.

The issue is important if not vital. Just before Christmas the government decreed a climate change emergency. An emergency means ‘a danger demanding immediate action’.

To save the planet that ’emergency can only have one outcome. To ban Christmas trees.

Don’t delay, do it now, the survival of the planet depends on it.

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Royal Commission Report Leaves More Questions Than Answers

That the tragic event that was the Christchurch terror attack is one point. That the actions of people that could have prevented have been given an out of jail free card is another.

The report points out that there were failings in both police and intelligence actions but that those failings wouldn’t have stopped the attack.

I have several concerns. The first is that I’ve been aware of people who gave evidence to the Commission only to have been disappointed at the watering down of that evidence. Further why lock up the evidence for a massive 30 years after which everyone involved will be either long retired or dead. It’s hardly open government.

Getting into the hard issues I’ve applied and received firearms licenses over the years in Canterbury, Wellington and Wairarapa. In all cases I’ve been interviewed at length, the storage has been checked and my wife and referee interviewed. The system, properly administered does work. That it didn’t in Dunedin delivers culpability.

Further the shooter was granted a license in 2017 at a time when the Police Annual Report noted that the resources available for firearms licensing were limited.

Surely that would have rung alarm bells. Did the Ministers around that time, Judith Collins and Paula Bennett think that was OK. Further I’m aware that the Southern Police Commander spent $28000 doing up his office. Wouldn’t those resources have been better spent on firearm licensing?

The Police were also informed of strange behavior by the shooter and chose to ignore it.

The question remains as to how many other white supremacists have firearms licenses.

The Intelligence Agencies also have questions to answer. SIS head Rebecca Kitteridge waxed long and eloquently about Jihadi brides with little proof offered while the terrorist was touring the battle scenes of Christian Muslim conflict.

I thank the Muslim community for their report. It has more credibility in my view than the Royal Commission which is to quote Oscar Wild, ‘attempting to wash one’s clean living in public’.

So from here everyone will be happy having as the Army statement goes, having ‘covered their arses’. People may die but the bureaucracy survives.

Life from here will be interesting. After the terror attack the PM swore to ban military style semi-automatics. I agreed. It then became all semi automatics courtesy of a Police agenda, a gullible Minister and a complete lack of knowledge of firearms amongst government with the obvious exception of Ron Mark.

We now have Nicole McKee in Parliament which brings a breath of sanity in my view.

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Air New Zealand Must Stop Ignoring the Provinces

I recently flew from Palmerston North to Christchurch and back for a family funeral. The flight down was fine but coming back!

It was latish in the day, the airport was deserted and we were due to fly at 6-40. At 6-20 we were told that the flight could be delayed for 10 minutes and they would get back to us shortly as there was some inclement weather approaching.

We didn’t hear anything for half an hour. Some rain came and went and flights left for both Wellington and Auckland.

At 6-51 I received a text from Air NZ telling me the flight would depart at 7pm. I found that interesting as they were going to get everyone out of the terminal, on to the plane and depart in just nine minutes.

As luck would have it we departed at 7-15.

The final iniquity was on arrival at Palmerston North we were told we’d have to wait as a flight had arrived from Auckland.

I’m not criticizing the pilots or cabin crew in any way but I am the system. As a simple example of their thinking. Air NZ recently told us amongst a blaze of glory that they had done a new, expensive, super dooper in flight safety video. One could humbly ask why?

International travel won’t he happening for a while yet and at the provincial level the flight attendant stands in the aisle and explains a card to you.


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SAFE Insanity Over Eggs

There was a full page ad from SAFE telling me that October was world egg free month. It was time to put the chicken before the egg they told me.

What rank stupidity but that’s what you’d expect from the idiots at SAFE.

Hens lay eggs whether SAFE eats them or not. The intelligent amongst us do. They’re an excellent food source.

So if I don’t eat the egg it sits on the ground or in the box. As SAFE don’t like chickens in cages its likely to be on the ground. An egg on the ground is tempting food for rats, ferrets, weasels and stoats who will consume the eggs with alacrity and multiply at pace.

Those extra pests also like eating chickens. It’s happened at home.

So Kiwi’s do your duty. Eat eggs today and minimise the effects of the chicken eating rats, weasels, ferrets and stoats.

Chickens need you now – eat an egg.

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Elections over – thank God

I covered my first election in 1975 and things have moved progressively backwards since then. Unlike many colleagues I support MMP as it brings single issues into the open. Just imagine what National and Labour would have done with their green policies if it hadn’t been for the Greens.

The election result was predictable and I’m relaxed. To me National and Labour are so close its hard to tell the difference. Its important to remember that National voted with Labour on both the zero carbon legislation and the gun laws. National obviously felt the urban Auckland voter considerably more important than those in the provinces. Act ran a good campaign and was well rewarded. Winston – well Parliament won’t be the same without him. I found NZ First frustrating as Ron Mark, Tracey Martin and Mark Patterson have done excellent jobs as Peters’ did as Minister. Shane Jones was the liability in my view and a major one at that.

The Greens got there and it will be interesting to see how they progress. They have some good people and some liabilities. I heard Eugenie Sage being interviewed before the election and she scares the tripe out of me. Conversely James Shaw comes across as sane and reasonable.

An issue for me was the dearth of solid new policy debate over the entire election. Labour worked on their achievements and National denigrated those achievements and claimed they were better managers of the economy than Labour was. I disagree. I think Grant Robertson has done a good job and I remain unconvinced over Paul Goldsmith. Although promoted as a financial guru by National his background is as an historian and biographer.

National have a major problem they need to fix. Their campaign was shite. A petulant Judith Collins making negativity an art form didn’t spin my wheels. Simon Bridges would have done a lot better. She’s toast. Mark Mitchell is making noises and has already had a tilt at the leadership. Christopher Luxon won’t rule a challenge out. I found that arrogant in the extreme as he wasn’t even in parliament when he made the statement. Running a country is a little different from an airline.

National have good leaders but they don’t get the air time. To be relevant in the future they need to change. It will be interesting to see if they do.

Going forward my fond hope is for policies based on science, meaningful consultation, a concentration on trade access and a removal of some of the ridiculous legislative barriers to progress and that’s at both a central and local level.

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Let’s Clean Up the Election

I started covering parliament as a young journalist in 1973 and have kept an interest ever since. I’m no moralist and have seen many goings on and reported none. The current melee however, offends me.

The Andrew Falloon scandal was just that. Politicians are no different to the rest of us and there are bad as well as good.

The Ian Lees-Galloway affair was a different matter.

I watched Judith Collins on the am show talk about knowing of a scandal in the Labour Party. She was on the program to talk about Andrew Falloon.

I don’t believe the straight answer to a question argument she put up and I don’t believe in coincidences. The morning after a National scandal the National Leader hurls dirt at the government.

What I want to know is who sent the email. We know with Falloon it was the mother of a 19 year old student which is transparent.

Convince me the message to Collins wasn’t organised.

If all of parliament knew about the affair as journalists tell us a letter to Collins the day of the Falloon scandal is just too cute.

In addition I’m reminded of the scriptures quote, ‘let he (she) who is without sin cast the first stone’.

Then we have National MP Barbara Kuriger telling us to leave MP’s families alone. Would an MP give me the same courtesy? Did Collins think of the wife and family when she hit the am show?

I’ve been in Hawkes Bay where the rumour factory anti the PM and he fiancee were both vicious and unbelievable. Dirty politics is alive and well with National. If they want my vote they need to clean up their act.

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Promising Billions on Road Transport is Stupid.

I’ve worked from home for 20 years. We have a high speed wireless network in coastal Wairarapa. For the record working at home was infinitely more profitable and relaxing than running an office with staff on the Terrace in Wellington.

In addition it drastically lowers your carbon footprint. You don’t have to start a vehicle to go anywhere, don’t get stuck in the traffic and you don’t waste money on coffee.

Hopefully the recent experience with the lock down has convinced employers and employees alike of the benefits of working from home.

It seems to have done that as more people in Auckland are working from home and traffic volumes are down.

What frustrates me is that we’re bombarded with information about global warming, reducing our carbon footprint and stopping burping ruminants yet heading into an election we’re promised more roads which will encourage a greater traffic flow and a larger carbon footprint.

Why can’t politicians think laterally and factor in different work habits.

We’re told that in Holland over 14% of the Dutch workforce work from home. Taking that percentage of vehicles off the road at rush hour is huge.

Another issue is that 98% of Dutch homes have high speed internet. In NZ while that figure is true for the cities it certainly isn’t for the provinces and needs to be fixed.

That would allow people to move from the cities to work in the provinces further reducing our carbon footprint.

So this election don’t give me the old pork barrel of uncosted motorways and harbour crossings. Tell me what you will do to improve the quality of life of Kiwis, while creating a more efficient economy and lower carbon footprint.

It might take brain power but it won’t take billions of dollars.

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Auckland Water – It Defies Gravity

On one hand I’m pleased at the furore over the Auckland water crisis. The agricultural sector has to put up with the same circus whenever they want to save water – for whatever reason.

On the other I’m disgusted with the opportunistic and arrogant attitude of Iwi and local and regional government in the Waikato.

The Waikato is a large river that no-one owns. It floods regularly with the destruction that brings.

Over 90% of the water from the river runs out to sea and is of use to no-one.

Auckland is suffering a drought they need the water. The people of Auckland look the same and behave the same as those of the Waikato. It is inevitable many are related.

Why then can’t they take water from the Waikato? It isn’t going to make one blind bit of difference to the river or the locals but will have a major effect on Auckland and its people.

While I’m pleased we’re going to have a Board of Inquiry I’d sooner the Minister made the only sensible decision and allowed Auckland to take the water.

For heaven’s sake. The entire country has suffered a drought, we’ve been through a covid-19 crisis and now we’re having one man made by idiots from the Waikato who are no doubt suggesting profit before integrity.

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