So we now have a working group to look at ways of boosting our poor levels of savings.
Except that some of the biggest issues are off the table. The working group won't be allowed to look at changes to NZ Super, nor will it be allowed to consider a capital gains tax. It appears our government has ruled these out forever (using much more emphatic language than the language used when asked about asset sales).
Bill English also has a message for the working group: don't bother coming up with any ideas that will cost money.
Our failure to save is one of the reasons why we're in a pickle. We have dreadful levels of private debt, because we're addicted to mortgages and consumer credit. A bit of rejigging and tweaking is not going to fix the problem.
Terms of reference as knobbling as these tell us that the government has already decided it doesn't plan to do anything radical or visionary. A tinker here and a slight adjustment there, and everything will be fine.
Except it won't. Long term we're f**ked as a nation unless we grow our productivity. We can't do that unless we reduce levels of debt, and grow our savings and investment levels.
This working group has been set up to fail.