17 May 2013

Books in better shape, thanks to higher tax take

11:15 am on 17 May 2013

A stronger economy has improved the Government's books.

Delivering the Budget on Thursday, Finance Minister Bill English reiterated that a small surplus is expected in two years' time on the back of an improved tax take, allowing him to increase spending and promise to cut ACC levies in the future.

The Treasury is forecasting average growth of 2.5% a year over the next five years, supported by the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Christchurch, robust dairy prices, low interest rates and increased spending.

That will boost tax revenue and - according to Budget projections - bring in a small $75 million surplus in the June 2015 financial year.

Although the reduction in ACC levies will reduce government revenue, Mr English says he remains committed to restraint and aims to reduce net debt from 29% to 20% of GDP by 2020 to ensure that the country is in good shape to withstand any future shocks.