6 Apr 2017

Growing tax take boosts government surplus

11:06 am on 6 April 2017

The government has recorded a stronger surplus, thanks to a higher tax take and lower spending.

Excluding investment gains and losses, the operating surplus stood at $1.4 billion for the eight months to February, compared with the forecast surplus of $498 million.

New Zealand money

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The growing economy boosted tax revenue, which came in above expectations at $48.1bn.

Corporate tax led the way, with revenue being $551 million ahead of forecast, due to companies making more profit.

That more than offset lower-than-expected source deductions revenue, although Treasury said it was largely timing-related and "should reverse out in the coming months".

Expenses came in below expectations, down 0.8 percent to $50.3 billion.

Treasury said most of the $395 million difference was down to ongoing uncertainty over the costs of the Kaikōura earthquake, which had yet to be included in the results.

Kaikōura repairs have been estimated to cost $2 to $3 billion.

The government added $1 billion in quake-related expenses to its forecasts, with $685 million of that due to EQC claims costs, and the remaining $315 million attributable to other things, such as funding local infrastructure.

Treasury has forecasted a $473 million surplus in the June 2017 year.

If investment gains and losses were included, the operating surplus stood at $10.6 billion.

The Treasury said that was mainly due to an actuarial gain of $3.2 billion and $1.5 billion on the ACC and GSF (Government Superannuation Fund) liabilities.

Net debt totalled $61.3 billion, or 23.5 percent of the value of the economy.