Speculation on the possible suspension of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has shattered the political consensus that has taken years to develop - but not along clear lines.
National's three support partners have three different positions: Act would support a suspension, United Future would oppose it and the Maori Party has not yet considered it.
Among the parties who don't support National, the Greens favour a suspension, while Labour and the Progressives would oppose it.
Labour leader Phil Goff strongly opposes any suspension of contributions of about $2 billion a year.
"The pensions of tomorrow need to be protected today."
But Greens co-leader Russel Norman said last night that in the present context, New Zealand should suspend its contributions.
"We are borrowing in order to invest in pretty uncertain financial markets at a time when the Government's fiscal position is rapidly deteriorating and it's really worried about its gross debt level.
"It's hard to see why you wouldn't suspend it for the moment."
Dr Norman said it also made sense for the fund to invest in sound New Zealand firms that were finding it hard to access credit.
"We have to think more like New Zealand Inc, and the New Zealand Super Fund is an expression of New Zealand Inc."
United Future leader and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne believes that suspending contributions would be "a very bad idea".
"I can understand the economic reasons for doing so but the real risk associated with it is that it opens up the whole super debate yet again.
"I would have thought the National Party would know to its cost [that] is not a bright thing to do."
Progressives leader Jim Anderton said that "raiding the piggy bank today means there is less in the piggy bank when it is needed".
National might make pledges about super today, "but that is meaningless because they are setting up super to be cut in the future".
The law already allows the Government to suspend contributions. It would not need parliamentary support to freeze the fund.
Should the Government suspend contributions to the NZ Super Fund?
* National: Won't rule it out.
* Labour: No
* Greens: Yes
* Maori Party: No policy
* Act: Yes
* United Future: No
* Progressives: No