5 Oct 2017

Govt surplus finalised at $4.1bn

1:00 pm on 5 October 2017

The final results for the 2016/2017 financial year show the state of the government books is largely in line with the forecasts made before the election.

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Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The operating surplus is slightly higher than forecast in the pre-election update, but that is mainly due to some spending, including some capital projects being delayed, rather than any increase in revenue.

That surplus is $4.1 billion, compared with the pre-election forecast of $3.7bn.

The government tax take is very close to what was forecast, at just over $75.6bn.

Included in spending this financial year was $800 million for Kaikōura, to repair damage caused by the Seddon quake.

The amount spent on social assistance has increased by $1bn since the previous year, largely driven by more people claiming superannuation.

The economy grew 2.7 percent over the year, driven by a growing population spending more, particularly on housing.

Net debt is at $59.5bn, $2.5bn lower than 2015/2016, and sitting at 22.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

There was a great deal of debate throughout the election campaign about whether each party could afford what they were promising.

National argued it could deliver further social benefits as a result of its tight economic management, while Labour maintained sectors like health and education had been under funded as a result of National's approach.

The government is in caretaker mode, but in the update Finance Minister Steven Joyce said the performance of the New Zealand economy was even more impressive when viewed in the context of a "still volatile global outlook".

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