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DHBs' Operating Expenditure Falls

Public Health Financial Statistics: March 2002 quarter

District Health Boards' Operating Expenditure Falls

The hospital and health service (HHS) provider functions of New Zealand's 21 district health boards (DHBs) have recorded a fall in their operating expenditure for the first time since June 1998 according to Statistics New Zealand. Total seasonally adjusted operating expenditure fell by $9.3 million or 0.9 percent. This reduction halts the trend of the last 12 quarters, and brings the total seasonally adjusted operating expenditure to $1000.1 million. This figure is down from last quarter's result which saw operating expenditure exceed $1 billion for the first time, and reach the highest level since the series began in September 1993.

Total income continued to rise during the March 2002 quarter, reaching $964.1 million, an increase of $8.3 million or 0.9 percent compared with the previous quarter. Total income is now 1.2 percent higher than in the March 2001 quarter. Government revenue, which makes up 92.1 percent of total income, was the main contributor to the increase, rising $10.6 million or 1.2 percent. Partly offsetting this increase was a $3.2 million decrease in medical charges and all other income.

This quarter also saw total taxpayers' equity fall by $23.3 million to $843.1 million, down $55.6 million on the same period a year ago. Sustained deficits remain the primary reason for this decline. Correspondingly, total debt increased $58.8 million between March 2001 and March 2002. As a result, the debt to equity ratio increased to 2.03, up from the 1.84 recorded in March 2001.

Total assets were valued at $2557.8 million at the end of March 2002, a marginal increase of $3.3 million on the value recorded at the end of March 2001. Over this period, HHS providers increased the value of their fixed assets by $160.0 million, but decreased current assets by $161.3 million. During the March 2002 quarter, $85.8 million of fixed assets were purchased, and $1.9 million of fixed assets were sold by HHS providers. The debt to fixed asset ratio remained constant at 0.8 between the December 2001 and March 2002 quarters.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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