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Pre-election Economic & Fiscal Update 2011

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 (e.g. 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 still underlying measurement and recognition point differences that make it difficult to do cross- country comparisons. Further information on GFS can be found on the IMF's website:

The following section provides fiscal forecasts for central Government on a GFS basis, prepared by applying top-down adjustments to the Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) accounts as a base and making the following adjustments:

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 Pre-Election 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 experimental. Statistics New Zealand is working towards an official GFS series, which will also include local government. Table 19 outlines some of the key indicators for the central government under a GFS presentation.

Table 19 - Summary indicators for central government


Net operating balance (13,906) (5,812) (1,518) 1,854 3,905 5,749
Fiscal Balance (Net lending/borrowing) (14,815) (8,160) (3,467) 549 2,576 3,913
Cash surplus/(deficit) (10,144) (12,450) (7,336) (3,497) (1,290) 2,357
Net worth 77,841 65,210 62,783 64,303 68,259 73,950
Net financial worth 5,398 20,377 24,753 24,538 21,911 18,056
Borrowing 62,606 71,592 71,185 80,377 79,219 81,229


Net operating balance (6.9) (2.7) (0.7) 0.8 1.6 2.2
Fiscal Balance (Net lending/borrowing) (7.4) (3.9) (1.6) 0.2 1.0 1.5
Cash surplus/(deficit) (5.1) (5.9) (3.3) (1.5) (0.5) 0.9
Net worth 38.9 30.8 28.3 27.4 27.7 28.8
Net financial worth 2.7 9.6 11.2 10.5 8.9 7.0
Borrowing 31.3 33.8 32.1 34.3 32.2 31.6

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

  • Table 20 - Statement of Operations
    • records the results of all transactions during an accounting period.
  • Table 21 - Statement of Other Economic Flows
    • records changes to stocks of assets, liabilities and net worth that come about from sources other than transactions.
  • Table 22 - Statement of Sources and Uses of Cash
    • records cash inflow and outflows using classifications similar to the Statement of Operations.
  • Table 23 - Balance Sheet
    • records the stocks of assets, liabilities and net worth.
  • Table 24 - Statement of Stocks and Flows
    • shows how the operating balance is applied to capital investment and debt repayment at a component level.
  • Table 25 - Reconciliation between GAAP and GFS operating balance
    • records the adjustments between the GAAP and GFS operating balance.
  • Table 26 - Reconciliation between GAAP residual cash and GFS cash surplus/(deficit)
    • records the adjustments between the GAAP and GFS cash indicators.

The GFS manual (on IMF's website) should assist with definitions for some of the terminology used in this section.

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