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Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2010

Glossary of Terms

ACC insurance liability

The ACC insurance liability is the gross liability of the future cost of ACC claims incurred prior to balance date. The net ACC liability is the gross liability less the asset reserves held to meet these claims.


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

Consumers Price Index (CPI)

Statistics New Zealand's official index to measure the rate of change in the prices of goods and services bought by households.

Contingent assets

Contingent assets are potential assets dependent on an uncertain event occurring.

Contingent liability

Contingent liabilities are costs, which the Crown will have to face if a particular uncertain and not probable 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 the Crown, departments, Offices of Parliament, the Reserve Bank, and the NZS Fund.

Core Crown revenue

Core Crown revenue primarily consists of tax revenue collected by the Government, but also includes investment income, sales of goods and services and other revenue.

Core Crown expenses

The day-to-day spending (eg, public servants' salaries, welfare benefit payments, finance costs and maintaining national defence etc) that does not build physical assets for the Crown. This is an accrual measure of expenses and includes items such as depreciation on physical assets.

Corporate tax

The sum of net company tax, non-resident withholding tax (NRWT), foreign-source 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 represents a current account surplus, a net outflow a deficit. The current account balance is commonly expressed as a percentage of GDP.

Cyclically adjusted or structural fiscal balance

An estimate of the fiscal balance (eg, operating balance [before gains and losses]) adjusted for short-term fluctuations of actual GDP around trend GDP. The estimate provides a picture of the underlying trend fiscal position and helps measure 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.

Demographic changes

Changes to the structure of the population such as the age, gender or ethnic make-up.

Domestic bond programme

The amount and timing of additional government debt expected to be issued in the next financial year.

Excise duties

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

Financial assets

Cash or shares (equity), a right to receive cash or shares (equity), or a right to exchange a financial asset or liability on favourable terms.

Fiscal drag

In a tax system with multiple tax thresholds, as taxable incomes increase, tax revenues increase more than proportionately. This occurs because a higher proportion of an individual's income is taxed at the higher rate as their income increases. The additional increase in taxes is known as fiscal drag because it has the effect of removing aggregate demand from the economy.

Fiscal impulse

A summary measure of how changes in fiscal policy affect aggregate demand. To isolate discretionary changes, fiscal impulse is calculated on a cyclically-adjusted basis and excluding net interest payments. To better capture the role of capital spending the indicator is derived from cash flow information.

Fiscal intentions (short-term)

Under the Public Finance Act 1989, the Government is required to explicitly indicate its intentions for operating expenses and operating revenues, and the impact of its intentions on the operating balance, debt and net worth over (at least) the next three years.

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 defined principles of responsible fiscal management as outlined in the Act and must cover a period of (at least) ten years.

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.

Gains and Losses

Gains and losses typically arise from the revaluation of assets and liabilities, such as investments in financial assets and long-term liabilities for ACC and GSF. Gains and losses are reported directly as a movement in net worth (eg, asset revaluation reserves) or indirectly through the Statement of Financial Performance. The impact of gains and losses on the operating balance can be volatile, the operating balance (before gains and losses) indicator can provide a more useful measure of underlying stewardship.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

A measure of the value of all goods and services produced in New Zealand; changes in GDP measure growth or contraction 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)

This includes all debt issued by the sovereign (the core Crown). It therefore includes Government stock held within the Crown (eg, by the NZS Fund, ACC and EQC).

Labour force participation rate

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

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 individual line items for revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities in the Crown financial statements include all departments, Offices of Parliament, the Reserve Bank, SOEs, Crown entities, and other entities controlled by the Government.

Marketable securities

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.

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