The Government's accounts
continue to edge closer to the forecast wafer-thin surplus
but tax revenue still remains a barrier to realising Finance
Minister Bill English's long-awaited goal of a black line on
Timing issues continue to be blamed for the
lower-than-forecast tax take. This time, timing issues around
GST payments were to blame.
The Treasury yesterday released the financial statements of
the Government for the 10 months ended April which showed the
operating balance before gains and losses (obegal) was a
deficit of $1.4 billon, $148 million less than expected.
Core Crown revenue of $55.5 billion was fractionally lower
than what was forecast in Budget 2014. Core crown expenses of
$57.9 billion were 0.2% less than expected.
At the same time last year, the obegal was a deficit of just
below $4 billion, core Crown revenue was $52.6 billion and
core Crown expenses were $57.8 billion.
The operating balance, including gains and losses from
investments held mainly through the New Zealand
Superannuation Fund and ACC, was a surplus of $3.8 billion,
$252 million ahead of forecast. Continued strength in equity
markets saw gains recorded on financial investments of $3.9
billion, which was $709 million ahead of forecast. The gains
were offset mainly by an increase in ACC's insurance
liability due to recent decreases in short-term discount
A year ago, the balance was a surplus of $2.8 billion.
Mr English said the finances were largely in line with Budget
forecasts. And he seemed confident National would lead the
next Government following the September 20 election.
''In the next four years, the Government will continue to
focus on achieving better results as the main way of
restraining future government spending and increasing the
surplus. We're already making good progress.''
The accounts showed spending on social security and welfare,
health and education all increased from April last year but
spending on core government services fell 21.5% to $3.36
billion from $4.27 billion.
Finance costs were down slightly to $7.9 billion.