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Govt books stay in black to beat forecast

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016

The government's books have missed Treasury's quarterly forecasts by $725 million - but in a good way.

The operating balance before gains and losses in the three months to the end of September was a surplus of $222 million, beating Treasury estimates of a $503 million deficit.

Chief government accountant Paul Helm says a higher than forecast tax take was behind the difference.

Core Crown tax revenue was $525m higher than forecast and $1.1 billion more than at the same time last year. It was driven by a increase in corporate tax as well as residential investment and spending by tourists.

Core Crown expenses at $18.9b were slightly less than predicted.

Combining gains and losses, the operating balance was a surplus of just over $2.3b - $2.2b bigger than forecast.

The result comes after the government posted a $1.8b surplus for the last financial year, which also well exceeded estimates and prompting renewed talk of tax cuts in election year.

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