The Treasury

Global Navigation

Personal tools


Budget 2006 Home Page Half Year Economic & Fiscal Update 2006

Glossary of Terms

ACC unfunded liability

The future cost of past ACC claims, less the asset reserves held to meet these claims. The ACC outstanding claims liability is the gross liability of the future cost of past ACC claims.


The level of funding approved for any given spending area (eg, Education). All amounts within baselines are included in the forecasts.

Contingent liability

Contingent liabilities are costs, which the Crown will have to face if a particular event occurs. Typically, contingent liabilities consist of guarantees and indemnities, legal disputes and claims, and uncalled capital.

Core Crown

The core Crown represents the revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities of departments, the Reserve Bank, GSF and the NZS Fund.

Corporate tax

The sum of net company tax, non-resident withholding tax (NRWT) and foreign dividend withholding payments (FDWP).

Current account (Balance of Payments)

A measure of the flows of income between New Zealand and the rest of the world. A net inflow to New Zealand is a current account surplus, while a net outflow is a deficit. The current account balance is commonly expressed as a percentage of GDP.

Customs duty

Duty levied on the imports of certain goods.

Cyclically adjusted or structural fiscal balance

An estimate of the fiscal balance (eg, OBERAC) adjusted for short-term fluctuations of actual GDP around the productive potential of the economy. The estimate provides a picture of the underlying trend fiscal position and an indication of the effects of policy decisions. Because it is based on a number of assumptions and is sensitive to new information, the estimate is subject to some uncertainty. Trends in the cyclically adjusted balance are, however, more reliable.

Demographic changes

Changes to the structure of the population, for example the age, sex or ethnic make-up of the population.

Domestic bond programme

The amount of new government stock expected to be issued over the financial year.

Excise duties

Tax levied on the domestic production of alcohol, tobacco and light petroleum products (CNG, LPG and petrol).

Financial assets

Either cash or shares (equity) or a right to receive a financial instrument, which can be converted to cash (see net Crown debt).

Fiscal Objectives (long-term)

The Government’s long-term goals for operating expenses, operating revenue, the operating balance, debt and net worth, as required by the Public Finance Act 1989. The objectives must be consistent with the principles of responsible fiscal management outlined in the Act.

Forecast new capital spending

An amount provided in the forecasts to represent the balance sheet impact of capital initiatives expected to be introduced over the forecast period.

Forecast new operating spending

An amount included in the forecasts to provide for the operating balance impact of policy initiatives and changes to demographics and other forecasting changes expected to occur over the forecast period.

Fringe benefit tax (FBT)

Tax levied on non-cash benefits provided to employees as part of remuneration packages.

Gross Crown debt

Total borrowings (financial liabilities).

Gross domestic product (GDP)

A measure of the value of all goods and services produced in New Zealand; changes in GDP measure growth in economic activity or output. GDP can be measured as the actual dollar value of goods and services measured at today’s prices (nominal GDP), or excluding the effects of price changes over time (real GDP).

Gross domestic product (expenditure)

This is the sum of total final expenditures on goods and services in the economy.

Gross national expenditure (GNE)

Measures total expenditure on goods and services by New Zealand residents.

Gross Sovereign-Issued Debt (GSID)

Gross sovereign-issued debt is debt issued by the sovereign (ie, core Crown) and includes Government stock held by the NZS Fund, GSF, ACC or EQC for example. The Government's debt objective uses this measure of debt.

Labour productivity

Measures output per input of labour (where labour inputs might be measured as hours worked or people).

Line-by-line consolidation

This is a term used to refer to the general approach to the presentation of the Crown financial statements. It means that the revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities of all departments, the Reserve Bank, SOEs and Crown entities are included in the Crown financial statements.

Marketable securities and deposits

Assets held with financial institutions. These assets are held for both cash flow and investment purposes, and include any funds the Government has invested in the International Monetary Fund.

Monetary conditions

The combination of interest rates and the exchange rate.

Monetary policy

Action taken by the Reserve Bank to affect interest rates and the exchange rate in order to control inflation. Tightening monetary policy refers to actions taken by the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates (which can influence the exchange rate) in order to moderate demand pressures to reduce inflationary pressures.

Net Crown debt

Borrowings (financial liabilities) less cash and bank balances, marketable securities and deposits, and advances (financial assets). Net debt excludes the assets of the NZS Fund and GSF. Net Crown debt is a measure of the Core Crown.

Net worth

Assets less liabilities (also referred to as Crown balance).

Operating allowance

The amount included in the Fiscal Strategy Report projections for new spending and cost pressures. The allowance is a projection assumption.

Operating balance

The operating balance is the residual of revenues less expenses plus surpluses from state-owned enterprises and Crown entities. It is the Government’s operating profit or loss.

Operating balance excluding revaluation and accounting policy changes (OBERAC)

The OBERAC is the operating balance adjusted for revaluation movements and accounting policy changes. It provides a measure of underlying stewardship.

Participation rate

Measures the percentage of the working age population in work or actively looking for work.


Projections of the key fiscal indicators beyond the five-year forecast period. The projections are based on long-run economic and fiscal assumptions. For example, the projections assume no economic cycle and constant long-run interest, inflation and unemployment rates.

Provisional tax

A thrice-yearly payment of tax on income that has not been taxed, or been under-taxed, at source (relates only to company tax and other persons’ tax).

Short-term fiscal intentions

Under the Public Finance Act 1989, the Government must indicate explicitly its intentions for operating expenses, operating revenues, the operating balance, debt and net worth over the next three years.

Source deductions

Tax withheld on wages, salaries, social welfare benefits, bonuses, lump-sum payments and superannuation fund contributions. About 80% of source deductions come from PAYE on wages and salaries. Source deductions is the biggest single tax type.

Specific fiscal risks

These are a category of Government decisions or circumstances which may have a material impact on the fiscal position (excluding contingent liabilities). They are not included in the main forecasts because their fiscal impact cannot be reasonably quantified, the likelihood of realisation is uncertain and/or the timing is uncertain.

Stock change

The change in the value of stocks (raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods) during a given period.

System of National Accounts (SNA)

SNA is a comprehensive, consistent and flexible set of macroeconomic accounts to meet the needs of government and private sector analysts, policy-makers, and decision-takers. See for further information.

Tax revenue

The accrual, rather than the cash (“tax receipts”) measure of taxation. It is a measure of tax due, regardless of whether or not it has actually been paid.

Thin capitalisation

A tax rule applicable to a non-resident-owned business that limits tax deductions for interest payments based on its level of debt relative to its assets.

Trade weighted index (TWI)

A measure of movements in the New Zealand dollar against the currencies of our major trading partners. The currencies comprise the US dollar, the Australian dollar, the Japanese yen, the euro and the UK pound.

Unit labour costs

The wages and other costs associated with employment per unit of output.

Year ended

Graphs and tables use different expressions of the timeframe. For example, 2006/07 or 2007 will generally mean “year ended 30 June” unless otherwise stated.

Page top