Government accounts in line with forecast

The Government’s accounts for the first three months of the fiscal year tracked largely in line with Treasury’s Budget forecasts, says Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

“Core Crown tax revenue, expenses and the operating balance excluding gains and losses (OBEGAL) were all close to forecast in the 2017 Budget and Economic Fiscal Update (BEFU).

“Adding in gains and losses, the Operating Balance was higher than expected. Core Crown net debt was slightly lower than expected.

“These numbers are a look at the Government’s books in the three months to 30 September. While Treasury notes they are close to the BEFU forecast, they do say that it is too early in the financial year to extrapolate the results to form a conclusion on the full-year numbers.

“The Government is committed to the fiscal parameters we outlined before the election, which include reducing government net debt to 20 per cent of GDP within five years of taking office, maintaining government expenditure to within the recent historical range of spending to GDP, and delivering a stable OBEGAL surplus throughout the Treasury’s Budget forecast period.

“I do note that readings of business confidence during the government formation process reflected the temporary uncertainty at the time, which had been expected by economists no matter what the outcome of the coalition negotiations.

“So, while some commentators are noting this could mean slightly softer growth over this period, we are confident that our plans to boost productivity, kick-start sustainable growth and grow incomes will feed back into increased confidence and activity in the months ahead.”