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Budget 2013 Home Page Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2013

Government Finance Statistics for Central Government

Government Finance Statistics (GFS) is a fiscal reporting framework developed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is specifically designed for government reporting.

The main purpose for having a common government reporting framework is to more easily enable cross-country comparisons of fiscal data and assessment of fiscal policy (eg, as in the case of the IMF's Article IV consultation with New Zealand).

It is important to note that even though the GFS framework provides a consistent presentation format there are underlying differences between countries in measurement and recognition. These differences mean that it can be difficult to make meaningful cross-country comparisons.

Further information on GFS can be found on the IMF's website[7].

New Zealand's GFS accounts

The following section provides fiscal forecasts for central Government on a GFS basis. These are prepared by applying top-down adjustments to the Forecast Financial Statements presented in the Budget Update, which were prepared on a Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) basis. The major differences between the forecasts are:

  • Coverage
    The Central Government entity is defined here as the consolidation of core Crown (excluding Reserve Bank) and Crown entities, as opposed to the emphasis on the total Crown in the Budget Update document. As a result, the Government's interest in the Reserve Bank and State-Owned Enterprises is equity accounted rather than consolidated line-by-line.
  • Other economic flows
    The GFS operating balance excludes valuation changes on assets and liabilities, which are instead reported in a Statement of other economic flows.
  • Transactions
    Defence weapons are treated as being expensed at the time of purchase. In addition there are some reclassifications of transactions (eg, some levies move to taxation revenue).

The GFS data presented in this section is provisional. Statistics New Zealand is working towards an official GFS series, which will also include local government. Table 18 outlines some of the key indicators for the central government under a GFS presentation.

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