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The New Zealand government's operating deficit was wider than forecast in the first quarter of the financial year as the Crown took in less tax than expected in a subdued economy.
The operating balance before gains and losses (obegal) was a deficit of $2.1 billion in the three months ended September 30, $449 million, or 27% bigger than forecast.
Core Crown tax revenue was $13.5 billion, or 2.1% lower than expected, the Treasury says.
Source deductions and goods and services tax were $166 million apiece below forecast, reflecting lower-than-expected wage growth and private consumption.
Provisional tax was $103 million below forecast, it says.
Core Crown spending was 1.1% below forecast at $17.3 billion, with under-spending on welfare, education and finance costs. These were offset by higher-than-expected earthquake expenses.
The operating balance, including gains and losses, was a surplus of almost $100 million, or $1.2 billion better than expected, reflecting gains from the NZ Superannuation Fund and the Accident Compensation Corp's investment portfolios.
Gross debt amounted to $79.3 billion, or 38.8% of gross domestic product. Net debt was $54.9 billion, or 26.9% of GDP.