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Kaikoura quake still not on govt books

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/03/2017

An unexpectedly large tax take has left the government with a bigger operating balance than predicted - but the cost of the Kaikoura earthquake still isn't being counted.

The government's operating balance, before gains and losses, for the seven months to January 31 was $1.145 billion, compared to December's forecast of $442 million, Treasury said in its government financial statements on Tuesday.

The lift was largely driven by a corporate tax take, which was $378 million ahead of forecast, while below-forecast growth in domestic consumption saw GST revenue come in at 1.2 per cent ($138m) lower than expected.

But while core expenses were slightly down, 0.8 per cent lower than the forecast $44.2 billion, they did not yet account for the November 14 Kaikoura tremor, Treasury said.

"The Kaikoura earthquakes ... have yet to be quantified with enough certainty to include in the actual results," chief government accountant Paul Helm said in the report.

"Over time, as reasonable estimates are able to be made, these costs will be recognised in the actual results, reducing the variance."

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