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Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014

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 Half Year 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 Half Year 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 17 outlines some of the key indicators for the central government under a GFS presentation.

Table 17 - Summary indicators for central government


Net operating balance 67 2,108 3,577 5,057 5,552 6,514
Fiscal Balance (Net lending/borrowing) (2,132) (931) 163 2,038 3,108 4,074
Cash surplus/(deficit) (3,506) (4,492) (3,254) 1,668 2,408 3,752
Net worth 73,251 75,151 78,626 84,244 90,465 97,885
Net financial worth 20,640 21,779 21,718 19,119 15,342 10,362
Borrowing 70,937 70,299 74,627 81,464 76,985 72,235


Net operating balance 0.0 0.9 1.4 1.9 2.0 2.3
Fiscal Balance (Net lending/borrowing) (0.9) (0.4) 0.1 0.8 1.1 1.4
Cash surplus/(deficit) (1.5) (1.9) (1.3) 0.6 0.9 1.3
Net worth 31.3 31.4 31.1 31.6 32.7 34.2
Net financial worth 8.8 9.1 8.6 7.2 5.5 3.6
Borrowing 30.3 29.4 29.5 30.6 27.8 25.2

The following tables provide additional detail around the calculation of the key indicators.

Table Name of the statement What the statement shows
18 Statement of operations A summary of the results of all transactions during an accounting period.
19 Statement of other economic flows Changes to stocks of assets, liabilities and net worth that come about from sources other than transactions.
20 Balance sheet Stocks of assets and liabilities and the corresponding net worth.
21 Statement of sources and uses of cash A summary of all cash flows presented using classifications similar to the Statement of operations.
22 Statement of stocks and flows How the operating balance is applied to capital investment and debt repayment at a component level.
23 Reconciliation between GAAP and GFS operating balance The adjustments between the GAAP and GFS operating balance.
24 Reconciliation between GAAP residual cash and GFS cash surplus/(deficit) The adjustments between the GAAP and GFS cash indicators.

The GFS manual (on the IMF's website) includes additional explanations on definitions for some of the terminology used in this section.

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