Finance Minister Bill English says latest figures from the Treasury show just how hard the recession has hit businesses.
The Government's operating deficit has taken a slight turn for the worse in the latest figures.
Spending exceeded revenue in the nine months to March by $5.3 billion.
The tax collected from businesses was more than 8% down on what was expected.
Mr English says the tax take from large and small business has been consistently lower than expected throughout the past financial year and will take some time to recover.
However, he says it could be a sign that businesses have been quite resilient.
Mr English says there is much evidence that businesses have kept people on, even if work dropped off through the recession, and that has affected profitability.