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Government deficit on track with Treasury forecasts at NZ$5.8 billion after first five months of financial year

Government deficit on track with Treasury forecasts at NZ$5.8 billion after first five months of financial year

Treasury says the Government's operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) for the five months to November last year came in largely in line with forecasts, being a deficit of NZ$5.8 billion.

In the Financial Statements of the Government for the five months to November 30 out today, Treasury also said when gains and losses are included, the Crown's operating balance was a deficit of NZ$2.5 billion, which is NZ$2.3 billion, or 47.9%, less than forecast.

"This variance is due to gains recorded by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Accident Compensation Corporation. The NZS Fund recorded gains in its investment portfolio that were NZ$1 billion higher than forecast, while ACC recorded an actuarial gain on their outstanding claims liability of NZ$0.5 billion, NZ$1.3 billion above their forecast actuarial loss," Treasury said.

The Crown's monthly financial statements are compared against monthly forecast tracks based on the Government's 2010 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update which was released last month.

In the first five months of the financial year overall core Crown tax revenue was close to forecast at NZ$20.5 billion, NZ$27 million, or 0.1%, above forecast, Treasury said. Within this, PAYE revenue was NZ$185 million, or 2.1%, higher than forecast, and corporate tax revenue was NZ$179 million, or 7.2%, below forecast.

"While the Treasury’s judgment is that the corporate tax variance is likely to be timing in nature, it is too early to predict whether the PAYE variance will persist. Core Crown expenses were NZ$272 million lower than forecast due to individually small variances across a number of departments," Treasury added.

Meanwhile, as of November 30, the Crown's gross debt was NZ$60.8 billion - equivalent to 31.9% of Gross Domestic Product) - and NZ$1.5 billion higher than forecast. This didn't, however, translate into a corresponding increase in net debt (NZ$35.9 billion or 18.8% of GDP) because there were similar increases in financial assets during the period, Treasury said.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the theme of May's election year Budget would be savings and investment as the Government looks to increase savings and reduce public sector debt. Key said he had asked Treasury for advice on the viability of partial sharemarket floats of Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy and Solid Energy. It would also look at further selling down the Government's 76.5% stake in Air New Zealand.

Key's comments come after international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's put New Zealand's AA+ sovereign credit rating on negative outlook last November after a deterioration in the Government's budget outlook.

(Update adds chart, background on Key's state of the nation speech and S&P's announcement.)

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How can these people make - e.g. GDP predictions any longer, when our biggest earners Tourism and Agriculture  are so susceptible and increasingly suffering under worldwide unpredictable political, financial, “Climate Change” etc. events ? In a fast changing world, how great is the risk and the amount of miscalculation in the future ?

It all sounds so easy when billions of dollars can be thrown around in the media with two digits. Too easy to be blase when it is $5.8Billion.

Gareth can I suggest you start a trend when reporting of including all the zeros. Except for when making a direct quote of course, but even then perhaps go for the zeros anyway:)

Have to see what the editor says about that! It would certainly make a sentence look a bit different but may be too long for some of our headlines...

It would make a headline in its own right:)

Yes, sometimes indeed, but not every time we quote a number...

Still needed to borrow  $ 9 + Billion in the 5 months

This is totally out of control borrowing.

Forget the accounting numbers - they can be massaged - just look at the cash flows.

I'm at a loose end so thought I would see how $5,800,000,000 looks. Not scary enough, so how does $37,908,497 per day look.....not so bad.......$1,579,521 per hour....mmmm....$26,325 per minute...$439 per second......oooh in the time its taken me to do this we owe another $4390. Bernard we need a debt clock. Now.

Haha very nice, I like it.

A debt clock could have some large implications. Imagine it published in the business herald every week!

That would take some courage to have that in the corner of your site Bernard.