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Spending under control, revenue below forecast

Hon Bill English

Minister of Finance

21 February 2014

Media Statement  

Spending under control, revenue below forecast

Government spending remains under control and revenue remains somewhat below forecast in the six months to 31 December – possibly due to timing issues, Finance Minister Bill English says.

This resulted in the operating deficit before gains and losses coming in at $1.8 billion for the six months – or $379 million higher than forecast.

“Given the large size of both the revenue and spending bases, overall we are still tracking reasonably close to forecast for the first six months of the financial year,” Mr English says.

“And we remain on track to surplus in 2014/15. As we’ve said many times, this will require ongoing discipline and responsible fiscal and economic management.

“New Zealand certainly doesn’t need irresponsible and expensive spending promises - which we’re already seeing from other political parties – more than a year before we’ve even posted a surplus.”

Core Crown revenue at $32.1 billion in the six months to December was around $580 million below forecasts in the Half-Year Update and around $80 million lower than Budget forecasts last May.

“At this stage, Treasury says it is difficult to determine how much of the lower-than-forecast tax revenue is temporary and how much is permanent,” Mr English says. “They expect this to become clearer over the next few months.”

Continued strength in world sharemarkets generated gains on Crown financial instruments of $3.1 billion in the six months, which was $1.8 billion ahead of forecast. This left the operating surplus for the six months $1.6 billion larger than forecast at $3.2 billion.

ENDS

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