Govt books reflect swift action to protect New Zealanders from COVID-19 impact

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Crown accounts released today show how quickly the Government got money out the door to help New Zealanders as COVID-19 hit the country.

The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the nine months to the end of March. Net Core Crown Debt was 21.3% of GDP with an OBEGAL deficit of $2.7 billion.

Core Crown tax revenue was $0.4 billion above December forecasts, due to higher-than-forecast PAYE, GST and customs and excise duties reflecting the growing economy before COVID-19. Core Crown expenses were $4.4 billion above forecast, reflecting the financial support for businesses and the health system as we went hard and early in our response.

“We used our Government’s strong balance sheet to move quickly with our public health response, reduce the impact on workers and businesses, and position the economy for recovery,” Grant Robertson said.

“I make no excuses for our swift and decisive actions to cushion the blow as COVID-19 reached our shores.

“As of yesterday the wage subsidy scheme has paid out more than $10.6 billion dollars to more than 1.7 million workers. The scheme was in place from March 17, more than a week before the country went into Alert Level 4.

“Since the scheme was announced, we’ve made adjustments to the subsidy and also implemented the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme and further small business support including the loss carry-back tax refund initiative.

“Next week, I will deliver Budget 2020 which will continue the work we have been doing to help New Zealanders through this pandemic. It will also include the next steps as we start to rebuild the economy,” Grant Robertson said.