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Big shift in numbers since budget – Mallard

Media Statement

Big shift in numbers since budget – Mallard

“The final outturn for the 2002-2003 financial year shows a significant shift since the budget forecasts were signed off in late April,” Acting Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

“The OBERAC [Operating Balance Excluding Revaluations and Accounting Changes] has come in at $5.6 billion, which is around $1.5 billion above the budget night forecast and reflects higher tax revenues, delays in spending and higher State Owned Enterprise and Crown entity surpluses.

“The shift in the operating balance – from around $1.4 billion to $1.96 billion - is smaller but still significant.

“Gross debt levels are now at their lowest since 1971 and the OBERAC – which provides the best guide to the underlying quality of the government’s fiscal stewardship – is the highest ever recorded. This is also reflected in net Crown debt which is around $1.3 million lower than projected on budget night.

“The stronger than expected results, if maintained and if other conditions permit, auger well for the government to deliver on the assistance package to low and middle income families and incentives to assist people to move from welfare to work, which Finance Minister Michael Cullen signalled in the budget speech.

“However, this government has and will continue to manage the Crown’s overall finances in a prudent and responsible manner.

“While the shift in actual outturn since the budget is in a positive direction, our overall fiscal strategy is to maintain a cautious fiscal stance with sufficient headroom to provide a buffer against forecast changes or unanticipated events,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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