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Financial Statements of the Govt to Feb 29 2008

4 April 2008
Embargoed until 10:00am, Friday 4 April 2008
Dr Peter Bushnell
Deputy Secretary to the Treasury

Financial Statements of the Government for the Eight Months Ended 29 February 2008

The Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the eight months ended 29 February 2008 were released by the Treasury today.

The monthly financial statements are compared against monthly forecast tracks based on the 2007 Half Year Budget Economic and Fiscal Update.

Results for the eight months ended 29 February 2008

• The operating balance was $3.3 billion lower than forecast at $1.4 billion. The three main contributors to this lower than expected result were:

- Investment losses of $1.1 billion were recorded against forecast gains of $1.4 billion (a variance of $2.5 billion). These variances were recorded primarily by the NZS Fund ($1.5 billion), ACC ($0.8 billion) and EQC ($0.3 billion)

- The ACC actuarial loss on their claims liability was $0.4 billion higher than forecast, and

- Core Crown tax revenue to February was below forecast by $0.7 billion (1.9%).

Core Crown tax receipts were, however, just $40 million (0.1%) below forecast.

The largest tax revenue variance was in GST ($0.4 billion lower than forecast).

2 GST revenue always includes an element of estimation each month, since the current month’s GST assessments are rarely submitted in time for monthly reporting. The estimation process is automated and is not subject to manual intervention.

IRD has analysed the GST revenue calculation for February and is satisfied that no error has been made along the lines of the provisional tax estimation error that affected the January accounts.

IRD’s view is that the estimated February numbers have been influenced by bringing forward the GST due date each month. This has the effect of increasing the weight given to January assessments in the estimation of the February accrual compared to previous years. January expenditure generally generates low GST. The negative variance is expected to reverse.

Unlike GST revenue, GST receipts do not involve estimation and can be regarded as an indicator of underlying economic conditions. The February GST revenue variance should not be interpreted as indicating a weakening in GST collections beyond that reflected in GST receipts.

• Adjusting for the non-cash valuation changes, the OBEGAL was $0.4 billion lower than forecast at $4.1 billion, with the lower than forecast tax revenue being the main contributor.

• Core Crown revenue (excl. NZS Fund) was $1.2 billion lower than forecast. This was due to core Crown tax revenue and interest and dividend revenue being lower than forecast ($0.7 billion and $0.5 billion respectively). The interest revenue variance was due in the main to lower than forecast levels of marketable securities and was largely offset by the interest expense variance (which was lower than forecast by $0.3 billion).

• Residual cash and consequently the debt indicators were largely on target.

See... Full release and statements (PDF)

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