18 Feb 2021

Consumer spending and stronger labour market boost government finances

11:21 am on 18 February 2021

The government's finances are in much better shape than expected with strong domestic spending propping up the tax take.

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Consumer spending lifted GST revenue and the stronger labour market boosted the income tax take. Photo: 123RF

Official figures show a deficit of $3.98 billion for the six months ended December, 33 percent lower than forecast.

The strength of consumer spending lifted GST revenue by 5 percent, while income tax revenue was ahead of forecast because of the stronger labour market.

The total tax take was $45.3b, up 1.9 percent on forecast, while government expenses were $53.3b, slightly lower than forecast.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the government was in a financial position to cope with any resurgence of Covid-19.

"We will continue our balanced approach to managing the economy, giving room to provide support to protect New Zealanders from Covid-19 and its impact, while also providing support to those who need it the most."

Government net debt was $104.5b, 32.6 percent of the value of the economy.

Forecasts in the half year update have net debt hitting nearly 40 percent of GDP and the budget deficit reaching $21.6b.