The Crown's finances have enjoyed a better three months of the new financial year than forecast.
Treasury said that "overall, key indicators were slightly stronger than forecast in Budget 2013" for the three months to September..
The total Crown’s operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was a deficit of $1.3 billion which was $382 million lower than expected, largely owing to the stronger than forecast core Crown tax revenue and lower than expected core Crown expenses.
Core Crown tax revenue of $14.4 billion was 1.1% higher than forecast, largely due to other individuals’ tax and GST ($143 million and $108 million respectively).
While GST was relatively close to forecast, continued strength in gross other persons tax and lower than expected refunds have contributed to higher than forecast other individuals tax. This improved performance was partially offset by $113 million lower than expected corporate tax, due to lower than forecast provisional tax.
Core Crown expenses of $17.5 billion were 1.4% lower than forecast. Delays in earthquake expenses and treaty settlements ($88 million and $55 million respectively) led to lower than expected expenses. Other lower than forecast expenditure was spread across a number of activities.
Gains on the Crown’s investment portfolios were $781 million higher than expected, particularly the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. In addition, actuarial gains on the ACC outstanding claims liability arising from discount rate changes, resulted in unforecast gains of $812 million.
The better than expected core Crown revenue and expenses result, alongside these stronger than expected gains, were the key reason for the total Crown’s operating balance inclusive of gains and losses recording a $539 million surplus, compared with an expected $1.2 billion deficit.
At 30 September, total Crown assets were $242.2 billion and liabilities were $171.7 billion. The Crown’snet worth strengthened to $68.5 billion.
The core Crown operating cash deficit was $2.8 billion. After taking account of capital expenditure during the year, there was a residual cash deficit of $3.7 billion at 30 September ($400 million below forecast). The cash shortfall was funded through additional borrowing which pushed the net core Crown net debt to $60.0 billion, equivalent to 28.2% of GDP. Gross debt was also close to forecast at $80.1 billion, or 37.7% of GDP.