Govt books show unexpected monthly surplus

Large gains from government financial institutions, tax revenue up and spending a fraction down.

Large gains from government financial institutions have swung the government books into surplus.

Investments by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and the Accident Compensation Corporation were, respectively, $207 million and $689 million above forecasts for the five months to November, according to the monthly financial statements from the Treasury.

That delivers an unexpected operating balance $706 million surplus compared to an anticipated $515 million deficit.

But even without those always-volatile results, the accounts show an unexpected improvement.

The ‘OBEGAL’ – operating balance excluding gains and losses – was, while still in deficit, at $3.0 billion, or $203 lower than expected.

Tax revenue has risen, while government spending is a fraction down. Core tax revenue is up $1.1 billion, or 5.3%, on the same period last year.

Expenses fell $50 million, or 0.2%. Corporate tax is down, by $291 million, to $2.7 billion, on the same period last year.

Income tax is up $100 million, or 1%, as is GST, up $18 million or 0.8%. The government’s increase in “sin taxes” is also paying off, up $80 million or 0.4%.

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