Alan Emerson

I don’t know if Fish and Game are really arrogant or stupid. I really don’t.

There was an innocuous enough article in Stuff talking about the fewer fishing licenses sold in Southland.

There were 8138 licenses sold compared with the previous year when we were told 9191 licenses were issued. Previously according to the article 12,431 were sold.

Fish and Game put it down to the bad weather but I have my doubts. In the old days I purchased a trout fishing license at the start of the season, end of story. The weather at the time was irrelevant.

Farmer, Bernadette Hunt affirmed the irrelevance of the weather in a tweet

Then in a follow up article we were told that farmers weren’t purchasing licenses as a protest against Fish and Game’s anti-dairy stance.

I can relate to that.

Bernadette Hunt who is also Southland Fed’s vice president made the point that ‘if there is an issue attributed to anything rural they’re all over it but if it is urban Fish and Game are silent’.

She’s right

Interestingly Federated Farmers president Katie Milne wrote to Fish and Game last year asking for constructive dialogue.

What she received from the organisation was effectively a two fingered salute.

So is Fish and Game now wanting to open dialogue, to be constructive and a good citizen as they’re obviously right off side with people fishing?.

Hell no. There reaction was to hammer the penalties that unlicensed fishers could suffer. They told us that fishing without a license could incur a fine of up to $5000 which is a ridiculous amount especially considering fine for rampant rubbish pollution is just $400.

We could also lose fishing equipment, vehicles and boats.

Fish and Game with its jackbooted approach told us that other charges could be laid including obstruction. The fine for that is up to $100,000.

What the organisation has totally failed to acknowledge is the general disgust they are held in. I’m just not going to fish for trout and salmon.

That way I don’t break the law and I’m not subsidising Fish and Games foibles by purchasing a license.

As an aside catching Kawhai on the beach is just as much fun with less bureaucracy.

That jackbooted response by Fish and Game should be concerning for all right minded Kiwi’s.

If a Police officer is suspicious you are committing crimes they need search warrants. The Police are responsible for their actions and transparent. Fish and Game have unfettered access to your property. They can ‘seize any bag’, ‘stop any vehicle’ and ‘at all times and without hindrance by any means whatever, enter upon, pass through or remain on any land’.

They certainly aren’t transparent or accountable

And that is New Zealand in 2019. We consider apprehending those who are illegally catching trout as being more important than dishonesty, theft or violence?

Further if there is an issue then give it to the reputable organisation that is the Department of Conservation and not a lunatic fringe group that I’m still undecided whether they’re stupid or arrogant.



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The Bizarre Debate on Drugs

The current debate on drugs totally ignores the key issue. We’re talking about testing young people at concerts which I’d suggest is a waste of time and discriminatory. We’re also talking about testing drivers which ignores the point.

Not all drugs were created equal and different drugs have different effects on people.

Until recently I hadn’t realised that marijuana stays in the system for some weeks yet P barely lasts 24 hours. Cocaine correspondingly lasts a few days.

So if I took P last night it wouldn’t show up on a drug test today yet if I smoked dope a couple of weeks ago it would.

You’d then have to ask who would be the safer driver and I’d suggest it would be last weeks dope smoker although they would pass positive for a drug test.

Also what’s testing at a music festival likely to prove? That the person took drugs. So what are you going to do about it? The event has passed and the police have been told to go easy on drug users.

So my view of the debate is that it is about politicians meddling and trying to look busy and not about achieving anything concrete or positive.

The drug debate in New Zealand has been going in ever diminishing circles for generations. I can remember back in the 1970’s there was a massive police drug sting at Massey University. They caught and charged about 50 people for smoking dope who were immediately expelled. The sting would have cost a fortune and for what, potential professors condemned to unskilled occupations?

We’ve had the police mantra since then that marijuana leads to hard drugs which is drivel. If that had been the case my entire university generation would have been hard line heroin addicts long ago.

We’ve now legislation legalising medicinal marijuana and we’re going to have a referendum on legalising marijuana for recreational use which is a step in the right direction but the reality is that the horse has bolted.

Marijuana has been readily available to my knowledge for half a century. Most other drugs are in a similar category.

The issue for me is that the drug industry which is massive is run by the gangs and other illegal organisations. It is in my view the supply of drugs and the massive profits from them that go, tax free into the underworld.

We have lost the war on drugs, game, set and match.

There are additional issues. I’m told by reliable sources that while dope isn’t addictive P is hugely so. Drug dealers are selling P for the same price as dope or lacing dope with it.

The answer for me is to forget the political posturing, legalise drugs and put them firmly under state control.

I was told once by a senior medical professor that marijuana, alcohol and tobacco had been around in one form or another since before the birth of Christ.

Judging by modern medical information the least harmful and addictive is marijuana.

The issue is that under state control you can regulate the product and the industry. It is a no-brainer so why not do it – now?

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The Hypocrites at Fish and Game NZ

I received strong reaction to my blog on Fish and Game’s ‘survey’. Unsurprisingly I stick with everything I said.

I’d now add that the organisation is a rampant hypocrite. I did mention in my last blog that Fish and Game completely ignored the reports of 379 sewerage overflows into our pristine streams and rivers.

Was there any comment from the trade union – in a word no.

We also read that many councils operated effluent systems that were past their use by date. Again not a dickey board from the team at Fish and Game towers.

Putting it in further perspective just 15% of New Zealand’s streams run through dairy farms, 97% of those streams are fenced meaning dairy, the great evil in the eyes of Fish and Game is just a bit player. In addition our most polluted streams run through cities not farm land.

That doesn’t stop Fish and Game vitriolic anti-dairy mantra while ignoring the real causes of pollution.

What really brought the hypocrisy to me was a superb article in the web-based news site Newsroom.

I find Newsroom highly professional and the article in question was entitled ‘The end is nigh for our lakes’ written by Queenstown based freelance writer Poppie Johnson.

Ms Johnson argues that Queenstown and Wanaka lakes waterways are in danger and that no-one was taking it seriously.

Cynically I’d suggest putting a few dairy cows down there and Fish and Game would become apoplectic but no dairy cows no problem it seems.

The facts Ms Johnson gives us is that Lake Wakatipu certainly the Frankton Arm had four times the recommended levels of E. Coli causing warning notices to be issued.

Lake Hayes has, over the past few years had periodic closures because of E. Coli and cyanobacteria. The latter causes ‘vomiting diarrhoea, coughing, headaches, fevers, blisters from contact and in rare cases slurred speech and respiratory distress. It can also be extremely harmful to animals’.

The problem is varied but doesn’t include farming.

the 17000 freedom campers, (freedom defecators) and ducks, those little feathered friends that Fish and Game breed up so people can kill them are the problem. There are also issues with the three million visitors a year.

What annoys me is that the fishing in the area is superb yet there is nothing from Fish and Game on the issues surrounding pollution. Many streams in dairying areas don’t have trout or salmon in them and never have yet dairy farmers are pilloried.

In addition a local farmer blocked access to a swimming hole because he found nappies on the river bank. He also had a problem with freedom campers.

Again nothing to do with farming.

So my sincere and humble advice to Fish and Game is to be consistent across the board or butt out. Your hypocricy is only exceeded by your arrogance.

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Fish and Game do it Again

Here was I listening to the radio to be shocked by the news that 82% of Kiwis saying they were concerned or very concerned about pollution of rivers and lakes.

Then we had Fish and Game chief Martin Taylor telling us that the problem was fair and square farmers fault.

Unsurprisingly I have issues with that.

For a start why don’t you get ten people in a room and ask them their concerns. I’ll lay you dollars to donuts that pollution of our rivers and lakes isn’t the major concern of eight of them.

Let’s take that a bit further. As the vast majority of us live in cities our exposure to rivers and lakes isn’t great. Certainly not eight out of ten. I’d be surprised if it was over two.

In addition the majority of Kiwis swim in pools, not rivers and lakes and that is because of convenience, not of concerns about water quality.

Further we’re told by the experts that our greatest challenge is climate change, not water quality. Excessive wet or dry can drastically affect water quality and agriculture has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I’m also told we have 80,000 children in New Zealand who are below the poverty line. Does Fish and Game really expect me to believe that people are more concerned about swimming in lakes and rivers than child poverty.

I could mention homelessness, debt, Donald Trump, the road toll, health and education which I’m sure rational people would be more concerned about than the occasional person who may wish to swim in a lake or a river.

So simply speaking I’d like the research peer reviewed by a reputable, independent expert as I just don’t believe it.

The vitriolic anti-farmer band wagon jumping chief executive of Fish and Game one Martin Taylor blames farmers fair and square. I’d expect nothing less.

What he conveniently chooses to ignore is that the number of times sewerage overflowed into the environment jumped 379% last year. As we don’t farm people in NZ I could accurately predict that agriculture had nothing to do with the problem.

The findings by reputable organisation Water NZ found that 35 out of 40 councils surveyed had sewerage regularly flowing into rivers and streams.

We were also told that the sewerage overflows were putting popular swimming areas off limits.

In addition 20 out of 178 wastewater treatment plants were operating on expired effluent discharge consents.

What irritates me is that if they were farmers they’d get hit with the full rigours of the law.

So come on Taylor and Fish and Game be accurate and be honest.

It is interesting because Fish and Game have one role in life, to protect and support that minority of New Zealanders who kill the predatory trout and salmon and the all polluting duck..

Farmers on the other hand are responsible for the standard of living the entire country enjoys.

Further, farmers organisation, Federated Farmers is supported by voluntary subscriptions. Fish and Game is supported by a compulsory tax on licenses. If I want to kill fish and ducks legally then I have to join the compulsory union that is Fish and Game.

Something is drastically wrong.. .

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Thompson and Clark saga needs much more investigation

I believe the inquiry into crown agencies employing private investigator’s Thompson and Clark is an adequate start but a lot more needs to be done. There is just so much we don’t know.

For a start the inquiry absolves state sector chief executives which I have great difficulty taking seriously. Is the State Services Commission telling me that low level civil servants would employ an organisation to spy and not tell the boss?

I believe that’s stretching credibility.

Then under the no surprises policy would that chief executive not tell their Minister, especially over something so delicate as oil exploration.

I don’t believe it. For example when NZ First Leader, Winston Peter’s superannuation was overpaid both chief executives and ministers were well aware of it. Am I being asked to accept that superannuation mistakes and that is all it was are more worthy of chief executives and ministers being told than the state sector being involved in spying on Kiwi’s. More importantly spying on Kiwi’s who were doing nothing wrong.

Thompson and Clark aren’t strangers to controversy as witnessed by the Solid Energy circus that received considerable publicity back in 2007. Is the State Services Commission suggesting that public servants weren’t aware of that and just continued in a cavalier fashion.

Back then the State Services Commissioner warned government department’s against using information covertly gathered by third parties.

Is the Commissioner’s instruction just ignored by the state sector? Whether it is or isn’t raises major questions about the state of our democracy.

That the power of our state is omnipotent, or to use Dr Russell Norman’s words ‘Stasi like’ is witnessed by the fact that Crown Law paid private investigators to spy on two brothers who were seeking damages from government after being abused in state care as they had every right to do.

Is anyone suggesting to me that Crown Law, the government’s lawyer didn’t know that was wrong and didn’t tell their chief executive or Minister. The fact that MSD knew as well makes it more interesting. Are they suggesting to me they’d tell their CEO and Minister about a superannuation over payment and not a case of state inspired spying.

Why would Crown Law use private investigators in such a fashion if they weren’t instructed to win at all costs and that would have to come from the top and that’s chief executives and Ministers.

Is Crown Law then suggesting that they wouldn’t keep those people informed.

Of more concern in the NZSIS dealings with Thompson and Clark.

The major hole in the investigation however is the position of the Police.

We know for example that four Police officers worked for the Police and Thompson and Clark at the same time. Ethics aside we were told that there was ‘no evidence of corrupt behaviour’. I’d like a second reputable opinion on that.

Further have the Police used private investigators? It would be a handy way of getting around issues like evidence based search warrants.

I want a lot more openness on who knew what and when plus an investigation into the Police use of private investigators. After all a complaint had been made to the Police do we expect a full, frank and honest investigation into that complaint?

Sadly I don’t believe that will happen and I don’t believe state sector bosses and relevant ministers didn’t know exactly what was going on and when.

The New Zealand public has a right to know. To refuse that is an infinitely greater effront to democracy than what’s in the current report.


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New Zealand Honours are Redundant

I’ve just seen the New Years Honours list and a lineup of irrelevancies it would be hard to beat. While I support the recognition to Stephen Tindall and Kim Workman plus the awards to those community volunteers in the areas of children, the disabled, the prevention of family violence and the like the rest is verging on the nauseating.

For a start if someone is paid to do a job giving them an award is ridiculous. The law profession is a case in point. To recognise gold plated lawyers and judges in the honours list is crazy.

Then add services to the likes of being a violinist, a photographer, a fashion ‘expert’, chess player, karate kid and taekwan-do addict and it lurches from comedy to farce.

Add to that politicians effectively giving themselves awards including Knighthoods and the entire system becomes irrelevant.

Further it is a political circus with the honours signed off by Cabinet and subject to political manoeuvreing as Jamie Lee Ross claimed.

That list then goes to the Queen for final sign-off and one would have to ask respectfully why. This is New Zealand in 2018 for heaven’s sake.

Why should a monarch 15000 kilometres away have any input into an award for a teacher in Taihape for example.

Unsurprisingly I’d like to see the honours system as it currently exists scrapped. People who do genuine work in the community don’t want or need to be given gongs.

We shouldn’t be encouraging the social climbers and political sychophants


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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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