Crown Result Still Positive After Tough YearFinance
The 1999 Crown Financial Statements released today show that the Crown's finances are in a strong and positive position, Treasurer Bill English and Finance Minister Sir William Birch said in a joint press statement today.
They said the $1.8 billion surplus recorded in 1998/99 was down $387 million on the Budget forecast, but net Crown worth and net Crown debt were, respectively, $566 million and $668 million ahead of forecast.
"The result contains a number of one-offs, most significantly the gain on the sale of Contact Energy Limited, and the negative impact of the Government Superannuation Fund unfunded liability revaluation."
Commenting on an underlying surplus of about $150 million, the Ministers said: "This is evidence that the Asian crisis put Crown finances to the test, but it also reiterates two key lessons.
"First, New Zealand's fortunes are inextricably linked to the world market place, so the Government must focus continually on policies that allow New Zealand enterprises to compete internationally.
"Secondly, a disciplined medium term strategy of running surpluses and reducing debt is of key importance to our economic security.
"The Government, while investing significantly in health and education, has budgeted prudently for more than 8 years now by carefully targeting its expenditure.
"This discipline is what laid the ground for tax cuts, the latest round of which put about $1.2 billion back in taxpayers pockets in 1998/99.
"Given expectations amid the conditions prevailing this time last year, we have emerged from the Asian downturn with a good result," the Ministers said.