The New Zealand government’s latest accounts show a surplus of more than $NZ1 billion ($A892.
34 million), raising the prospect that the 2014/15 budget will balance after all.
The accounts for the 11 months to the end of May, released on Wednesday, show an operating surplus of $NZ1.17b compared with Treasury’s predicted $NZ193 million surplus.
It’s the second straight month of operating surplus – at the end of June there was a turnaround $NZ448m surplus against Treasury’s predicted deficit of $NZ555m.
The May budget forecast a $NZ684m deficit for the full financial year after the government had promised a surplus, and faced a torrent of opposition criticism.
Finance Minister Bill English said at the time there could be a turnaround between the budget forecast and publication of the full-year accounts in October.
Despite the healthy state of the books, he’s cautious about the full-year figures.
“There’s always volatility in the monthly Crown accounts and we won’t know for some time if there will be a full-year surplus in 2014/15,” he said after Wednesday’s release.
“What’s important is that these results indicate the government is on track to anchor Crown debt levels at a low, sustainable level.”
The surging surplus was the difference between revenue of $NZ87b and spending of roughly $NZ85.5b.
Tax revenue, at $NZ61.2b, was 0.7 per cent stronger than forecast.
“The bulk of these positive variances is expected to persist through to the end of June,” Treasury said.
That’s the end of the financial year covered by the 2014/15 budget.