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Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2016

Accounting Policies

The forecast financial statements contained in the published Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2016 are based on the following accounting policies:

Statement of compliance

These forecast financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the Public Finance Act 1989 and with New Zealand Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (NZ GAAP) as defined in the Financial Reporting Act 2013. 

These forecasts have been prepared in accordance with Public Sector PBE Accounting Standards (PBE Standards) - Tier 1. These standards are based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).  The forecast financial statements comply with PBE FRS-42: Prospective Financial Statements and NZ GAAP as it relates to prospective financial statements.

For the purposes of these financial statements, the Government reporting entity has been designated as a public benefit entity (PBE). Public benefit entities (PBEs) are reporting entities whose primary objective is to provide goods or services for community or social benefit and where any equity has been provided with a view to supporting that primary objective rather than for a financial return to equity holders.

The use of public resources by the Government is primarily governed by the Public Finance Act 1989, the State Sector Act 1988, the Crown Entities Act 2004 and the State-owned Enterprises Act 1986.

Reporting and forecast period

The reporting periods for these financial statements are the years ended 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2021.

The “2016 Actual” figures reported in the statements are the audited results reported in the Financial Statements of Government for the year ended 30 June 2016. The “2017 Previous Budget” figures are the original forecasts to 30 June 2017 as presented in the 2016 Budget.

Where necessary, the financial information for State-owned Enterprises and Crown entities that have a balance date other than 30 June has been adjusted for any transactions or events that have occurred since their most recent balance date and that are significant for the Financial Statements of the Government. Such entities are primarily in the education sector.

Basis of preparation

These forecast financial statements have been prepared on the basis of historic cost modified by the revaluation of certain assets and liabilities, and prepared on an accrual basis, unless otherwise specified (for example, the Statement of Cash Flows).

The forecast financial statements are presented in New Zealand dollars rounded to the nearest million, unless separately identified.

Judgements and estimations

The preparation of these financial statements requires judgements, estimates and assumptions that affect the application of policies and reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenue and expenses. For example, the present value of large cash flows that are predicted to occur a long time into the future, as with the settlement of ACC outstanding claim obligations and Government superannuation retirement benefits, depends critically on judgements regarding future cash flows, including inflation assumptions and the risk-free discount rate used to calculate present values.

These forecasts include budget adjustments for new unallocated spending during the year (both operating and capital) and top-down adjustments which reduce the bias for forecast expenditure by departments to reflect maximum spending limits instead of mid-point estimates. The estimates and associated assumptions are based on historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates.

The estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Revisions to accounting estimates are recognised in the period in which the estimate is revised, if the revision affects only that period, or in the period of the revision and future periods if the revision affects both current and future periods.

Where these judgements significantly affect the amounts recognised in the forecast financial statements they are described below.

Reporting entity

The Government reporting entity as defined in section 2(1) of the Public Finance Act 1989 means:

  • the Sovereign in right of New Zealand, and
  • the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Government of New Zealand.

The description “Consolidated Financial Statements of the Government reporting entity” and the description “Financial Statements of the Government” have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.

Basis of combination

These forecast financial statements combine the following entities using the acquisition method of combination:

Core Crown entities

  • Ministers of the Crown
  • Government departments
  • Offices of Parliament
  • the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Other entities

  • State-owned Enterprises
  • Crown entities (excluding tertiary education institutions)
  • Air New Zealand Limited
  • Regenerate Christchurch
  • Education Council of Aoteroa New Zealand
  • Organisations listed in Schedule 4 and 4A (Non-listed companies in which the Crown is majority or sole shareholder) of the Public Finance Act 1989
  • Organisations listed in Schedule 5 (Mixed ownership model companies) of the Public Finance Act 1989
  • Legal entities listed in Schedule 6 (Legal entities created by Treaty of Waitangi settlement Acts) of the Public Finance Act 1989

The Crown has a full residual interest in all the above entities with the exception of Air New Zealand Limited, Tāmaki Redevelopment Company Limited (listed in Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act 1989), Regenerate Christchurch and the entities listed in Schedule 5 of the Public Finance Act 1989 (Mixed Ownership Model Companies).

Corresponding assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses, are added together line by line. Transactions and balances between these sub-entities are eliminated on combination. Where necessary, adjustments are made to the financial statements of controlled entities to bring the accounting policies into line with those used by the Government reporting entity.

Tertiary education institutions are equity-accounted for the reasons explained in the note to the Government's financial statements for the period ended 30 June 2016. This treatment recognises these entities' net assets, including asset revaluation movements, surpluses and deficits.

The basis of combination for a joint venture depends on the form of the joint venture.

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