WELLINGTON, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government's accounts for the five months to November 2017 show revenue and expenses tracking above the latest Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) forecasts, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Thursday.
The tax revenue of 400.4 billion NZ dollars (22.3 billion U.S. dollars) came in 5400 million NZ dollars (389 million U.S. dollars) above forecast. Corporate tax, income tax and the goods and services tax (GST) all came in slightly above the forecasts in the treasury's HYEFU published in December, Robertson said.
"While it's too early to fully establish whether all of this positive variance will remain through the year, some of it is expected to remain. The numbers are an initial sign of how businesses have been performing and how consumers have been spending in recent months," Robertson said.
The expenses of 33.3 billion NZ dollars (24.5 billion U.S. dollars) during the five months to November were also slightly above the forecast, Robertson added.
The government accounts show that the Operating Balance Before Gains and Losses was a surplus of 125 million NZ dollars (92 million U.S. dollars), compared to a forecast deficit of 457 million NZ dollars (335.8 million U.S. dollars), he said.
The net debt was 22.2 percent of GDP at the end of November 2017, slightly below the 22.5 percent of GDP expected, the minister said, adding the government has committed through its Budget Responsibility Rules to the target of reducing the net debt to 20 percent of GDP within five years of taking office, which is "a responsible move" to ensure New Zealand have the capacity to withstand economic shocks.