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Government Finance Statistics (Central Government): Year ended June 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  01 May 2015
Data quality

Period-specific information

This section contains data information that has changed since the last release.

General information
This section contains information that does not change between releases.

Period-specific information

Reference period

This information release presents government finance statistics (GFS) for the central government sector for the years ended June 2009 to 2014.

Data consolidated

In this release we extended the data consolidation on the central government balance sheet to show units within central government as if they constituted a single unit. This is consistent with the GFS system and follows improvements to the operating statement made in our previous release. For more information about consolidation and the revisions.

See Revisions for more information.

Corrections to balance sheet information

In this release we have made two significant corrections to the GFS central government balance sheet.

  •  New Zealand Superannuation Fund is included.
  •  Equity of the state-owned enterprises was overstated in the past and has now been corrected.

General information

Data source

We derived data in the accompanying Excel tables primarily from Treasury’s database (CFISnet) and supplemented it with information from annual reports, survey data, and data direct from ministries. This differs from Treasury's GFS estimates, which are solely derived from CFISnet.

Accuracy of the data

GFS is reported on a June year. However, our data sources have different reporting periods, including March, June, and calendar years, which require different techniques in order to be standardised.

International comparisons

The main purpose of GFS is to produce a common reporting framework to more easily enable cross-country comparisons of government activity. However, there may still be underlying data capture, measurement, and recognition-point differences between countries that may affect cross-country comparisons.

We have not done any direct cross-country comparisons but the OECD and Eurostat collate data and tables for their member countries.

Consistency with other periods or datasets

The set of concepts and principles that make up the GFS is one of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) four macroeconomic standards. The other three are the balance of payments, national accounts, and money and banking (financial) statistics. As the concepts behind GFS are consistent with these other statistics, GFS estimates are directly comparable with them.

We compile information in this release in accordance with the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001. The IMF released the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 in March 2015. We intend to implement GFSM 2014 at a later date.

Generally, the GFS estimates are compiled consistently with Treasury GFS, but we use a bottom-up and line-by-line approach rather than Treasury's top-down approach. We have worked with Treasury to reconcile our GFS estimates.

Interpreting the data

The GFS central government operating balance differs from the operating balance published in the Crown accounts, due to differences in coverage and scope. For the June 2014 year, the GFS operating surplus of $90 million compares with a Crown accounts operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) deficit of $2,933 million.

The main reason for the difference is that in a GFS framework impairments and write-offs on financial assets are not considered an expense item. For example, bad debts written off by Inland Revenue are not included as a GFS expense for central government.

The central government sector includes all core Crown departments and most Crown entities. State-owned enterprises are public non-financial corporations and therefore we do not include them in the scope of the GFS central government sector. 

We exclude some Crown entities, such as Housing New Zealand, as they operate as market entities. A market entity provides goods or services at prices that are economically significant. However, equity ownership of the market-operating Crown entities and state-owned enterprises is included in the balance sheet as a financial asset. This is consistent with the GFS manual but may differ from the GFS estimates produced by Treasury.

According to the GFS Manual (2001), net debt includes all financial assets and liabilities except shares and other equity and financial derivatives. We include cash and deposits, loans, securities, retirement plan liabilities, insurance liabilities, other non-equity assets, and other non-equity liabilities in our calculation of net debt.

Understanding the tables

While the GFS Manual (2001) recommends a particular layout for each table, it recognises that different transactions can have greater or lesser importance in some countries than others. We use our discretion for the final format of the following tables – to adapt to New Zealand’s circumstances. Generally, the layout of the tables is consistent with the manual’s recommendations. A brief description of the content and purpose of each table follows.

Table 1 – Operating statement (central government)

A summary of the government’s accrual transactions in a given accounting period. The statement is similar to a company's statement of financial performance but also includes transactions in non-financial assets (eg land, buildings, infrastructure, and intangibles). Provisions and valuation or other changes are treated as other economic flows in government finance statistics rather than as transactions.

Table 2 – Balance sheet (central government)

Records the market value of a government's stock of financial and non-financial assets, liabilities, and net worth at the end of each accounting period.

Table 3 – General government expenses by function (central government)

Shows the functional split of total operating expenses and total net acquisition of non-financial assets from the operating statement.

Table 4 – Taxation revenue (central government)

Identifies the different types of tax charged by government.

Table 5 – Non-financial assets reconciliation (central government)

Brings together the transactions in non-financial assets (except inventories) included in the operating statement, the balance sheet values, and the actual or implied other economic flows associated with those same assets (ie valuation or other changes) between successive balance dates.

Timing of published data

Government Finance Statistics (Central Government) is generally published 12 months after the end of the reference year. This is to allow government departments to complete their accounts, including auditors’ approval, and us to process questionnaires.

Confidentiality and accessing the data

Data collected and information contained in this publication must conform to the provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. This requires that published information maintains the confidentiality of individual respondents.

More information

Further information on GFS and the concepts and principles behind them is in the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001).

Statistics in this release have been produced in accordance with the Official Statistics System principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics for quality. They conform to the Statistics NZ Methodological Standard for Reporting of Data Quality.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ does not accept responsibility for any such delay.

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