Plans are nothing, planning is everything.
We have all seen that Europe was too dependent on Russian oil and gas, Germany in particular.
Politicians have now realised their mistake and "all too late" measures are being put in place to limit the impending serious collateral damage.
Our politicians have made the same mistake, allowing the Marsden Oil Refinery to close down.
We are now reliant on 20 days "ready-to-go refined fuel supplies" from Singapore and South Korea.
We could have been self-sufficient in fuel, drawing oil supplies from New Plymouth, if needed in the case of an emergency, and refining it at Marsden Point.
God help New Zealand if Putin lets off a few nuclear bombs, as our farmers, our vehicle transport and our factories will grind to a halt in 20 days.
Who were the "we-know-best individuals" who put New Zealand on this path of potential disaster like the Europeans are now facing?
How about we set up the "Ministry of Common Sense" to veto these terrible decisions our politicians are making, at no cost to taxpayers as businessmen like myself will do it for free.
Tom Reynolds, St Heliers.
SME's (small to medium enterprises) make up 97 per cent of all businesses in New Zealand and we are in crisis.
Talking with other businesses across New Zealand, they all state the awful situation of trying to find new staff, as we have experienced. We hire staff at the living wage and lose them in short order.
The Government tells us that we should be hiring more New Zealanders but, guess what, they aren't there. It has been three years since our business achieved a full staff complement with a continuous revolving door of trial staff who fail or just don't come back to work. We need some honesty from the Government about its strategy to fix this crisis hitting SMEs.
Peter Chatterton, Napier.
National's oft-stated distress towards the plight of "the squeezed middle" reveals its total lack of concern for the working poor.
Its recipe to ease the distress must surely involve a greater tax-take from our highest earners. Oh, wait a minute…
Ian Swney, Morrinsville.
Avril Haines, US Director of National Intelligence, seems unconcerned about Putin's use of "nuclear rhetoric" (NZ Herald, May 12). She thinks he would only authorise the use of nuclear weapons if he believed there was an existential threat to Russia.
Russian military doctrine states nuclear weapons can be used if such weapons are deployed against Russia or in the case of an existential threat from conventional weapons.
The problem is how will we know when Russia senses an existential threat? When US intelligence and material are seen to be directly responsible for downing warships and killing Russian generals? When Russia's formerly neutral neighbours join the Nato alliance? Or when US spokespeople talk of Russian regime change and say that a weakened Russia is a war goal?
To escalate a war against a significant nuclear power is to gamble with all our futures. Nothing justifies Russia's cruel actions in Ukraine, but Russia needs to be able to see an exit route. Aotearoa rejected the idea of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence over 30 years ago; why is our Government not taking steps now to support a negotiated end to this dangerously escalating conflict?
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
Charity and entitlement
Inflation, which is mainly caused by Government borrowing and printing billions of dollars as part of the Covid response, has pushed up the cost of food. Countdown and Foodstuffs have responded by reducing the prices of essentials. Is this appreciated? I'm sure by some but there is a lot of noise demanding even greater reductions. Supermarkets are businesses, not charities running foodbanks. They have huge capital investment and operate on fine margins.
These demands remind me of a speech in the Senate, by the Roman Cicero: "Some of us believe that it was an ill day when our citizens were granted a free dole of corn in the first place. For, it is human nature that what starts as gratitude, quickly becomes dependency, and ends as entitlement."
It seems that not much has changed in 2000 years.
Richard Prince, Welcome Bay.
Short term, knee-jerk reactions to inflation are a fruitless exercise.
The cut to petrol recently is a case in point. We are back at $3 dollars in most cases. What has it actually achieved?
We must beat inflation at its own game, play the long game as it were.
We must play the seasons; if one wants to buy avocado and strawberries right now, then there is no government policy that will save you from yourself.
John Ford, Taradale.
Fixing a future
Letter writer Adina Thorn (NZ Herald, May 16) has it backwards. The projected Budget is all about the future of your children and grandchildren.
It was, rather, the former National Government that refused to invest in the health "system" and ignored climate change. The nurses and health workers didn't even bother to try asking for a much-needed raise, meaning it all fell on Labour the minute they got in power as they saw their well-deserved opportunity.
Samantha Cunningham, Henderson.
New Zealand is unique in that it has nine estuaries suitable for tidal power stations.
Tidal power converts roughly 80 per cent of kinetic energy into electricity, as opposed to coal and oil which convert only 30 per cent.
Tidal power is denser than air and therefore 100 times more efficient than wind or solar power, is a renewable source of energy and produces no greenhouse gases.
Unlike both solar and wind, turbines once established last between 100 to 200 years as opposed to 25 years for solar panels and wind turbine blades which leave a deadly concoction of toxic chemicals in landfills as a legacy for the next generation to deal with.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Auckland Airport and Auckland Transport have had over two years to synchronise roadworks and upgrades which are currently causing major disruptions to traffic at the airport.
Just when the borders are opening, the international forecourt is having an infrastructure upgrade.
Why was this not done when the airport was essentially in lock-down?
Mary Tallon, Takapuna.
Whenever I hear the old "spare the rod and spoil the child", I'm put in mind of a comment from the late Judge Mick Brown.
On hearing someone say "all those kids need is a damned good hiding" his retort was, "the reason they are in the court system was probably because all their lives, all they have known are damn good hidings".
John Capener, Kawerau.
Lovely photograph taken by Greg Bowker (NZ Herald, May 13) of a - no, not a rewarewa tree. I have it on good authority - the Cornwall Park Information Centre - that it is the Australian firewheel, or stenocarpus sinuatus.
K. M. Mansell, Greenlane.
Short & sweet
Why don't we let the supermarkets run the country? They have outsmarted governments for decades. R Irwin, Te Atatū South.
Finland is joining Nato. New Zealand should apply to re-join Anzus... if they'll have us. Catherine Curlett, Remuera.
On West Bank
Shireen Abu Akleh had already been silenced. There was no need for the disrespect and brutal assault on the mourners. Eric Bennett, Red Beach.
Surely Auckland doesn't need any more bike paths. We have hundreds of kilometres of them. They used to be called footpaths. Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
In reply to Larry, who applauds the Warriors' latest loss (NZH, May 16), what part of their ongoing losing streak adds to their mana? Garry Wycherley, Awakino.
I wonder who thought the brown toothpaste in my new tube would attract customers? Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
The Premium Debate
Reading this article and its complaints about government spending, debt, and supply chain-induced inflation, you'd be forgiven for thinking Nicola Willis is unaware of the once-in-a-century pandemic. Steve E.
I note both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister keep saying, in answers at Question Time, "that's why we have helped the low and middle incomers with the April 1st... " How many middle-income earners get benefits? A handful. The rest of the middle-income earners get nothing from this Government and will form the main group who wave them goodbye. Warren B.
People can't afford bread? Let them eat more bureaucracy. Let's centralise the polytechs, the health system, and the water supply. Let's spend hundreds of millions of dollars on projects that, according to one of their own ministers, increase bureaucracy and removes local input. In the end, the starving population will thank us. John K.
I don't see anything new with National. The same tax cuts that advantage the well off, the same tax cuts we can't afford especially with our health system bordering on third world. I'm looking for something different from the same old same old Labour/National script we've had for years It's failing us. Peter L.
Why do people think that to be any good it must be new? Lots and lots of old stuff is still good stuff and even if it is boring, what we need now is stability. Jacinda Ardern has undeniably proven that idealism mixed with "bright young fresh ideas" are not necessarily good ideas. Roy H.