WELLINGTON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) --- The New Zealand government's operating deficit shrank in the six months ending December on the back of lower spending, Finance Minister Bill English said Wednesday.
The Treasury financial statements showed that both core tax and other revenues were just 0.1 percent below forecast, but expenses came in 273 million NZ dollars (229.45 million U.S. dollars), or 0. 8 percent, lower than expected, helping reduce the OBEGAL ( operating deficit before gains and losses) by 158 million NZ dollars to 3.2 billion NZ dollars.
Core expenditure for the six months to December was 32.8 percent of GDP, compared with forecasts in 2009 of 36.3 percent of GDP by 2012-2013.
"The six-month results show we are on track to reducing this further to around 30 percent of GDP in the next few years," English said in a statement.
The accounts showed that despite difficult financial conditions globally, the government's fiscal management was reaping a steady gain for the New Zealand economy, said English.
Gross debt was 1.5 billion NZ dollars below forecast at 81.7 billion NZ dollars, or 39.2 percent of GDP, according to a Treasury statement.