Tue, 18 Feb 2020

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The New Zealand government's books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Friday.

The Treasury on Friday released the Crown accounts for the five months to November.

The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting in a surplus of $100 million.

The variance is due to lower than forecast Core Crown expenses and higher than forecast revenue.

"While the month by month results do tend to fluctuate due to tax timing changes, it is pleasing to see this positive result," Grant Robertson says.

"The surplus and low levels of debt show the fundamentals of the New Zealand economy remain strong."

Net debt remains low at 20.1% of GDP, while expenses were within 0.6% of forecast.

Net investments gains of $3.6 billion were $1.3 billion above forecast, largely because of favourable changes in market prices.

"Our careful fiscal management has resulted in low government debt, which alongside record low borrowing costs has given us room to invest an extra $12 billion to future-proof New Zealand," Grant Robertson says.

"This package of infrastructure projects will provide further support to boost the New Zealand economy in the face of slowing international growth and global headwinds."

"It will also give certainty to the construction industry about upcoming infrastructure projects and will create more opportunities for Kiwis," Robertson said.

"We'll be announcing the specific projects in the near future," he added.

(Photo credit: Auckland University Press).

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