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Update on release of government finance statistics for central government


This is an update of Statistics NZ’s project to extend coverage of government finance statistics to include central government. These statistics will be published annually in a new information release, Government Finance Statistics (Central Government), starting from mid-2013.

Read the article online, or download and print the PDF from 'Available files' above. If you have problems viewing the files, see Opening files and PDFs.

Introduction to government finance statistics

Government finance statistics (GFS) are a set of concepts and principles developed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) specifically designed for measuring government activity. GFS are an economic representation of a government’s financial activity and are designed to enable the entire public sector to be analysed.

See Introducing government finance statistics (Statistics NZ, 2011) for more background.

Statistics NZ has successfully developed GFS for local government for the years 2009–11, and publishes information annually.

See Government Finance Statistics (Local Government) – information releases. 

The central government sector

Central government is an important sector because of its relative size. In 2012, central government contributed around 19 percent to the expenditure measure of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) compared with a 4 percent contribution from local government. Central government performs unique functions, meaning there are greater complexities. This makes it an important area for analysis.

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

See Appendix: New Zealand units of central government for departments and entities included in this sector.

GFS provides an alternative way to view and analyse the central government sector compared to the existing national accounts statistics. The national accounts primarily analyses government in respect to productive output. GFS focuses on government’s income and expenditure 

Data sources and methodology

When compiling central government estimates for the national accounts, data is drawn from a large variety of data sources including Treasury’s database CFISnet, annual reports, survey data, and data direct from ministries.

GFS(central government) uses the same data sources as the national accounts statistics. The data sources have different reporting periods, including March, June, and calendar years, which require different techniques in order to be standardised.

The national accounts annual statistics are on a March year basis, whereas GFS will be on a June year. The majority of data is collected on a June year and transformed for the national accounts statistics to produce a March year answer.

GFS (central government) needs fewer adjustments to the data, as it will be reported for the same period as the source data. This will enable better comparability between data as Statistics NZ’s local government GFS and the New Zealand Treasury’s Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand publish accounts on a June year.

Focus has been on taking all the available data and building an answer using a bottom up approach. Data is being coded to GFS at the individual transaction level for each government agency to improve coverage. This aims to capture data at the lowest possible level and enable a robust GFS result.

Attention has been given to the 2010 year so far as there is complete and audited data available for this year. The main goal has been to produce an answer for 2010 that is coherent and consistent with the statistics produced for national accounts.

Once the data for the 2010 year has been reconciled with the national accounts answer, the data will be transformed to a GFS basis. Analysis of the GFS answer will occur and once it has been validated, the system will be extended to cover more 


We are planning to publish the new information release, Government Finance Statistics (Central Government), around June 2013. The results of the first release will include four years of data, covering the period year ended June 2009–12. Data for year ended June 2011 and 2012 will be provisional in this release. Final data for these years should be available in future editions of the information release.

In future, we aim to produce GFS for central government and to combine these estimates with the existing GFS for local government. This will enable an answer for total general government to be produced, along with a consolidation of transactions between central government and local government. The GFS development project is a multi-year programme with a plan to produce these statistics annually.

It is anticipated that a reconciliation with the New Zealand Treasury’s Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand will be produced, but at this point it is not known what level of detail this will 

Indicative estimates

To show readers what the results might look like, we have produced indicative estimates for operating statements for central general government (see table 1). Note that these results are not comparable to the Treasury’s Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand, due to the difference in reporting periods of the statements (June for the Treasury statements, and March for the central government statistics.

The estimates in table 1 are based on published information from table 2.8, of the sector accounts tables, in National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2012 release.

Be aware that the estimates are only indicative, as the new statistics are based on:

  • different reporting periods
  • gross values not net values
  • different level of detail
  • conceptual differences.

The indicative estimates have been produced on a March year consistent with the national accounts release whereas future GFS releases will be produced on a June year basis.

The estimates have used some net figures (such as net capital transfers) that appear in table 2.8 whereas future GFS tables will have gross values. This will allow the split between income and expenditure for these items to be seen.

Some items that are currently included within other components in table 2.8 will be split out separately in GFS tables. This includes net purchases of valuables that are currently included in change in inventories. GFS also has the potential to show a further break down of transfers to include separate values for grants.

The main conceptual difference is that the data will be aligned with GFS concepts of income and expenditure, rather than the national accounts concepts of production and consumption. This means that some transaction values used in the national accounts estimates will be replaced with their original accounting estimates. This includes replacing the national accounts concept of consumption of fixed capital with the GFS accounting equivalent of depreciation and amortisation.

Table 1 
Indicative operating statements (central general government(1)
Year ended March

  Year ended March 
2009  2010  2011  2012 
GFS revenue         
Taxation revenue  58,513  53,743  56,309  58,649 
Sales of goods and services  4,581  5,025  5,171  5,914 
Interest income  2,366  1,977  2,196  2,591 
Dividend income  865  1,979  1,188  1,833 
Current transfers         
    Grants  ..  ..  ..  .. 
    Other current transfers  1,165  1,283  1,411  1,084 
Capital transfers         
    Grants  ..  ..  ..  .. 
    Other capital transfers  ..  ..  ..  .. 
Social contributions  2,170  2,424  2,793  2,834 
Other income  559  447  366  386 
Total operating income  70,219  66,878  69,434  73,291 
GFS expense         
Employee expenses  16,903  17,714  18,312  18,818 
Depreciation  1,970  2,104  2,163  2,231 
Purchases of goods and services  9,815  9,846  10,147  10,960 
Interest expenses  2,293  2,428  3,225  4,445 
Current transfers         
    Grants  ..  ..  ..  .. 
    Subsidies  785  399  552  721 
    Other current transfers  4,947  4,796  5,126  4,670 
Capital transfers         
    Grants  ..  ..  ..  .. 
    Other capital transfers  919  691  10,103  6,719 
Social benefits  28,520  30,587  31,872  33,230 
Other expenses  284  368  822  328 
Total operating expenses  66,436  68,933  82,322  82,122 
GFS net operating balance  3,783  -2,055  -12,888  -8,831 
Net acquisition of non-financial assets         
Fixed assets  4,051  4,122  3,387  3,001 
less Depreciation  1,970  2,104  2,163  2,231 
plus Change in inventories  57  -16 
plus Valuables  ..  ..  ..  .. 
plus Land  -126  65  -22  29 
plus Other non-produced non-financial assets  12  -6  -8 
Total net acquisition of non-financial assets  2,012  2,103  1,180  793 
GFS net lending(+)/borrowing(-)  1,771  -4,158  -14,068  -9,624 
1. Data based on table 2.8, National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2012
Note: Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding.
R revised
.. not available
… not applicable

Source: Statistics New Zealand 


Related links

Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001) 
This reference manual describes the GFS system. Available from

Introducing government finance statistics 
This paper explains what GFS is and the relevance of these. Available from

National accounts 
This web page includes links to information releases that provide an annual measure of economic aggregates in the New Zealand economy. Available from

The Treasury’s half-year economic and fiscal update 2012 
The Treasury’s latest economic forecasts and forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions.


Appendix: New Zealand units of central government

The central government tables include data from the following Crown departments and Crown entities that make up the central government section.

Subsector 1. Budgetary central government

1.1  Executive council, governor general’s office, house of representatives, judiciary, and parliamentary departments and offices 
1.2 1.2 New Zealand Superannuation Fund 

Subsector 2. Extrabudgetary units/entities 

2.1  Accident Compensation Corporation 
2.2  Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust 
2.3  Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand 
2.4  Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa (Creative NZ) 
2.5  Asia New Zealand Foundation 
2.6 Broadcasting Commission 
2.7  Broadcasting Standards Authority 
2.8  Careers New Zealand 
2.9  Charities Commission 
2.10  Children’s Commissioner 
2.11  Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand 
2.12  Commerce Commission 
2.13  Crown Asset Management Limited 
2.14  Crown Fibre Holdings Limited 
2.15  Crown Health Financing Agency 
2.16  Crown research institutes (8) 
2.17  District health boards (20) 
2.18  Dispute Resolution Services Limited 
2.19  Drug Free Sport New Zealand 
2.20  Earthquake Commission 
2.21  Education New Zealand 
2.22  Electoral Commission 
2.23  Electricity Authority 
2.24  Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority 
2.25  Environmental Protection Authority 
2.26  External Reporting Board 
2.27  Families Commission 
2.28  Financial Markets Authority 
2.29  Fish and Game councils (12) 
2.30  Government Superannuation Fund Authority 
2.31  Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation 
2.32  Health and Disability Commissioner 
2.33  Health Benefits Limited 
2.34  Health Quality and Safety Commission 
2.35  Health Research Council of New Zealand 
2.36  Health Sponsorship Council 
2.37  Housing New Zealand Corporation 
2.38  Human Rights Commission 
2.39  Independent Police Conduct Authority 
2.40  Law Commission 
2.41  Leadership Development Centre Trust 
2.42  Learning State Limited 
2.43  Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand 
2.44  Mental Health Commission 
2.45  Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Board 
2.46  National Pacific Radio Trust 
2.47  New Zealand Antarctic Institute 
2.48  New Zealand Artificial Limb Board 
2.49  New Zealand Blood Service 
2.50  New Zealand Film Commission 
2.51  New Zealand Fire Service Commission 
2.52  New Zealand Fish and Game Council 
2.53  New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust Board 
2.54  New Zealand Government Property Corporation 
2.55  New Zealand Historic Places Trust (Pouhere Taonga) 
2.56  New Zealand Lotteries Commission 
2.57  New Zealand Lottery Grants Board 
2.58  New Zealand Productivity Commission 
2.59  New Zealand Qualifications Authority 
2.60  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra 
2.61  New Zealand Teachers Council 
2.62  New Zealand Tourism Board 
2.63  New Zealand Trade and Enterprise 
2.64  New Zealand Transport Agency 
2.65  New Zealand Venture Investment Fund 
2.66  New Zealand Walking Access Commission 
2.67  Ngai Tahu Ancillary Claims Trust 
2.68  Office of Film and Literature Classification 
2.69  Pacific Co-operation Foundation 
2.70  Pacific Island Business Development Trust 
2.71  Pharmaceutical Management Agency 
2.72  Privacy Commissioner 
2.73  Public Trust  
2.74  Radio New Zealand Limited 
2.75  Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Limited 
2.76  Reserve boards (23) 
2.77  Real Estate Agents Authority 
2.78  Retirement Commissioner 
2.79  Road Safety Trust 
2.80 School boards of trustees (2,470) 
2.81  Sentencing Council 
2.82  Social Workers Registration Board 
2.83  Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited 
2.84  Sport and Recreation New Zealand 
2.85  Standards Council 
2.86  Takeovers Panel 
2.87  Te Ariki Trust 
2.88  Te Māngai Pāho (Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency) 
2.89  Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) 
2.90  Television New Zealand Limited 
2.91  Tertiary Education Commission 
2.92  Tertiary education institutions (29)
2.93  Testing Laboratory Registration Council 
2.94  The Māori Trustee 
2.95  Transport Accident Investigation Commission 

Subsector 3. Social security funds

3.1  Government Superannuation Fund 


ISBN  978-0-478-40808-9 (online)
Published 19 December 2012

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