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.

Shane Jones Gives Away NZ First Provincial Vote

I covered the 50 Shades of Green March on November 14 for my Farmers Weekly column. It was an interesting experience. I covered the Rogernomics protest in the ’80’s and the Fart Tax in the 90’s. Whereas the Fart tax had 400 the 50 Shades of Green protest had 1200.

The issue is the blanket planting of good farmland with pinus radiata. What’s happened locally is a titled foreigner has purchased a good productive sheep and beef unit and blanket planted it with trees using foreign labour. They then leave it alone claiming carbon credits for as long as they can.

The forest then rots thus returning the carbon to the atmosphere so we’ve achieved nothing.

The land is out of production removing employment opportunities and the support that brings to rural communities.

My view, therefore was that the protesters had a valid point.

It was an orderly protest with many placards with the theme of provincial destruction.

They ended up in Parliament with National’s Todd Mueller speaking. He said National would change things which didn’t resonate with the crowd as National had voted to support the Zero Carbon Bill.

The was followed by Minister of Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor who I couldn’t hear properly. If I was him I’d have said something along the lines of ‘you obviously feel strongly about this let’s work something out’ but he didn’t.

Then Shane Jones did his bit claiming, how I have no idea, that the march was disrespectful of the PM.

He then did his redneck quote which I found offensive. A redneck according to my dictionary is ‘a poor uneducated white farm worker’. There were many Maori on the march and an Asian contingent. I’m sure there would have been many substantial farmers and graduates.

Labeling the crew as rednecks would have lost more NZ First votes in Provincial NZ than the largess of his Provincial Growth Fund would have achieved.

Maybe its time to save the $billion annually and put it into something worthwhile like methane mitigation research.

My reaction to the Jones outburst was to label the man a buffoon which means ‘a person who amuses others by ridiculous or odd behavior.

On the button I thought

Read More

How to Save the Planet – Emerson Style

I just read some really relevant research to global warming. It came from UCLA so it has to be right.

In America there are more than 163 million dogs and cats which surprised me.

That’s fine in itself but they are responsible for dumping 64 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air every year.

That’s about equivalent to 13 million vehicles or three times the entire NZ fleet.

What I didn’t realise is that cats and dogs in the good old US of A consume about 19% the amount of calories that people do and as they are carnivors they eat meat.

They eat the same number of calories as 62 million Americans or 13 times the population of NZ.

On the flip side they produce 30% as much poop as Americans do, equivalent to the total trash of six million Americans.

Their carbon footprint is increasing too as pet owners go up market with their pet food. Gourmet pet food is increasingly popular.

So my thoroughly research suggestion for New Zealands carbon woes is not to push farmers into the ETS. Don’t tax their methane either.

Just kill all the cats and non-farm dogs.

It’s simple really. I’m off to talk to Eugenie and David.


Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More