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New Zealand Economic and Financial Overview 2012

Current Fiscal Position and 2011 Budget

Tables 22 and 23 summarise the Government's fiscal position according to Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Act 1989.

Tables 22 and 23 - Current Fiscal Position and 2011 Budget
  2007
Actual
2008
Actual
2009
Actual
2010
Actual
2011
Actual
2012
Pre-election Update[1]
Year ended 30 June (dollar amounts in millions) (dollar amounts in millions) (dollar amounts in millions) (dollar amounts in millions) (dollar amounts in millions) (dollar amounts in millions)

Statement of Financial Performance

           
Core Crown tax revenue 53,477 56,747 54,681 50,744 51,557 55,451
Core Crown other revenue 4,734 5,072 4,801 5,472 5,993 5,714
Core Crown revenue 58,211 61,819 59,482 56,216 57,550 61,165
Crown entities, SOE revenue and eliminations 16,378 19,660 20,446 18,509 24,013 22,472
Total Crown revenue 74,589 81,479 79,928 74,725 81,563 83,637
Social security and welfare 16,768 17,877 19,382 21,185 22,005 22,560
Health 10,355 11,297 12,368 13,128 13,753 14,350
Education 9,269 9,551 11,455 11,724 11,650 12,269
Core government services 4,817 3,371 5,293 2,974 5,563 7,138
Other core Crown expenses 12,795 14,901 15,504 15,002 17,479 18,143
Core Crown expenses 54,004 56,997 64,002 64,013 70,450 74,460
Crown entities, SOE expenses and eliminations 14,725 18,845 19,397 17,027 29,509 19,986
Total Crown expenses 68,729 75,842 83,399 81,040 99,959 94,446
OBEGAL 5,860 5,637 (3,893) (6,315) (18,396) (10,809)
Gains/(losses) 2,162 (3,253) (6,612) 1,806 5,036 (1,792)
Operating balance 8,022 2,384 (10,505) (4,509) (13,360) (12,601)

Statement of Financial Position

           
Property, plant and equipment 95,598 103,329 110,135 113,330 114,854 119,067
Financial assets 73,719 85,063 93,359 95,971 115,362 111,104
Other assets 11,031 12,443 13,657 14,054 14,999 15,444
Total assets 180,348 200,835 217,151 223,355 245,215 245,615
Borrowings 41,898 46,110 61,953 69,733 90,245 101,237
Other liabilities 41,623 49,211 55,683 58,634 74,083 76,096
Total liabilities 83,521 95,321 117,636 128,367 164,328 177,333
Net worth 96,827 105,514 99,515 94,988 80,887 68,282

Debt Indicators

           
Net debt 13,380 10,258 17,119 26,738 40,128 53,823
Gross debt 30,647 31,390 43,356 53,591 72,420 79,779
GDP 172,060 183,325 185,449 189,359 200,291 211,773

Statement of Financial Performance
(as % of GDP)

           
Core Crown tax revenue 31.1 31.0 29.5 26.8 25.7 26.2
Core Crown other revenue 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.9 3.0 2.7
Core Crown revenue 33.8 33.7 32.1 29.7 28.7 28.9
Crown entities, SOE revenue and eliminations 9.6 10.7 11.0 9.8 12.0 10.6
Total Crown revenue 43.4 44.4 43.1 39.5 40.7 39.5
Social security and welfare 9.7 9.8 10.5 11.2 11.0 10.7
Health 6.0 6.2 6.7 6.9 6.9 6.8
Education 5.4 5.2 6.2 6.2 5.8 5.8
Core government services 2.8 1.8 2.9 1.6 2.8 3.4
Other core Crown expenses 7.5 8.1 8.2 7.9 8.7 8.6
Core Crown expenses 31.4 31.1 34.5 33.8 35.2 35.2
Crown entities, SOE expenses and eliminations 8.5 10.3 10.5 9.0 14.7 9.4
Total Crown expenses 39.9 41.4 45.0 42.8 49.9 44.6
OBEGAL 3.4 3.1 (2.1) (3.3) (9.2) (5.1)
Gains/(losses) 1.3 (1.8) (3.6) 0.9 2.5 (0.8)
Operating balance 4.7 1.3 (5.7) (2.4) (6.7) (6.0)

Statement of Financial Position

           
Property, plant and equipment 55.6 56.4 59.4 59.9 57.3 56.2
Financial assets 42.8 46.4 50.3 50.7 57.6 52.5
Other assets 6.4 6.8 7.4 7.4 7.5 7.3
Total assets 104.8 109.6 117.1 118.0 122.4 116.0
Borrowings 24.4 25.2 33.4 36.8 45.1 47.8
Other liabilities 24.1 26.8 30.0 31.0 36.9 35.9
Total liabilities 48.5 52.0 63.4 67.8 82.0 83.7
Net worth 56.3 57.6 53.7 50.2 40.4 32.2

Debt Indicators

           
Net debt 7.8 5.6 9.2 14.1 20.0 25.4
Gross debt 17.8 17.1 23.4 28.3 36.2 37.7
  • [1] Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update announced 25 October 2011.

Source: the Treasury

Table 24 - Personal Income Tax
Individual Annual Income ($) Tax Rate from 1 October 2010 (%)
0 - $14,000 10.5
14,001 - $48,000 17.5
48,001 - $70,000 30
70,001+ 33

Source: the Treasury

Taxation

The main taxes are the personal and corporate income taxes and Goods and Services Tax (GST), a value-added tax. Both are applied at reasonably low rates to broad bases. The introduction of GST in 1986 marked a significant shift in the mix of taxation from direct to indirect tax.

Personal income tax rate reductions in 2008, 2009 and 2010 reduced tax on individuals' capital and labour income. The 2010 changes were accompanied by reductions in the company, superannuation scheme and Portfolio Investment Entity (PIE, a widely-held retail savings vehicle) rate to 28%. The changes were funded by increasing GST, better aligning tax and economic depreciation rates, and tightening the thin capitalisation rules faced by foreign investors.

Personal Income Tax

All income other than most capital gains is taxed. Table 24 sets out the personal tax rates that have applied since 1 October 2010.

Withholding taxes apply to wages and salaries and to interest income and dividends. Fringe benefits are taxed separately.

Tax credits based on combined family income are available to families with children. A tax credit is also available to some independent earners who do not otherwise receive government support.

The tax treatment of pension funds and other savings is "TTE": contributions are made from Tax-paid income, fund earnings are Taxed, and withdrawals are Exempt.

Indirect Taxes

GST was raised from 12.5% to 15% on 1 October 2010, in conjunction with the income tax cuts described above. Financial services and housing rentals are exempt but otherwise New Zealand's GST is very broad-based. Additional indirect taxes are applied to alcohol and tobacco products, petroleum fuels and gaming.

Company Taxes

As part of the 2010 tax reform package, the company tax rate was lowered from 30% to 28% with effect from 1 April 2011. Imputation credits are attached to dividends when tax is paid at the corporate level. Inter-corporate dividends (other than from wholly-owned subsidiaries) are taxed as income. Depreciation rates for new assets are based on the economic life of the asset. There is immediate deductibility against income of forestry and mineral mining development costs, petroleum exploration expenditure and of most agricultural development costs. The reforms also included reducing the depreciation rate for most buildings to 0% from 1 April 2011.

International Taxation

The foreign-source income of New Zealand residents is subject to tax, with some exceptions. In particular, foreign dividends received by resident companies are exempt.

In common with other OECD countries, New Zealand has rules attributing certain income earned through foreign entities to its residents and taxing it accordingly. Residents holding a 10% or greater interest in a controlled foreign company, other than an Australian company, are taxed on accrual on passive income earned by the company. For all income years beginning on or after 1 July 2009, any active income earned through such a company is exempt. These rules are similar to those operating in other OECD countries.

Residents holding a 10% or greater interest in a foreign company not controlled from New Zealand are generally taxed on accrual for all income earned by the company. A Bill has been introduced to extend the active income exemption to these investments from 1 July 2012.

Investments in the shares of foreign companies (except for some Australian listed companies) of less than 10% are taxed under the Fair Dividend Rate method. The investor is attributed income equal to 5% of the investment's opening value. Dividend income is exempt. Where an individual can show the unrealised gain on their investments is less than 5%, the investor is taxed on this lower amount.

The tax treatment of the New Zealand income of non-residents encourages inward capital flows where this is feasible. Interest payments to non-residents are subject either to non-resident withholding tax (in most cases at a 10% rate where a double tax agreement applies and 15% otherwise) or to a 2% levy. In the case of New Zealand government debt, the issuer absorbs the levy and no tax reduces the return to the investor. Parliament is considering whether to remove the 2% levy on certain bond issues.

Dividends paid to non-residents may also be subject to withholding taxes. Companies paying fully imputed dividends to non-resident investors with shareholdings of 10% or more do not have to apply any withholding tax. Companies paying fully imputed dividends to non-residents with shareholdings of less than 10% have to withhold tax at the rate of 15% but can claim a credit against their company tax, which they must then pass on to the investor. The net effect is that the maximum combined level of company tax and withholding tax on profits distributed to non-residents will in most cases be the same as the company tax rate (28% from the start of the 2011/12 income year).

For unimputed dividends paid to non-residents, the rate of withholding tax is 30% unless this is reduced under a double tax agreement. Under most of New Zealand's double tax agreements, the withholding rate for dividends is limited to 15%. Recently, the government has begun including lower limits in some of its double tax agreements for dividends paid in respect of shareholdings of 10%. For example, in the agreements with Australia and the United States, the rate of withholding tax on dividends is now limited to zero for shareholdings in excess of 80% and 5% for shareholdings of 10% or more. Lower limits are expected to be incorporated into other double tax agreements over time.

The government has implemented transfer pricing and thin capitalisation regimes. It has recently abolished relief for New Zealand tax on offshore income derived by New Zealand companies on behalf of non-residents as these rules had led to tax avoidance.

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