The Government's finances are doing better than expected due to underspending by departments.
Lastest figures, for the 10 months to April, show an operating deficit of $1.4 billion after stripping out investment gains and losses - 10 percent better than the Treasury forecast in May's Budget.
Expenses came in $90 million below forecast due to underspending by departments.
That more than offset a lower tax take, which the Treasury says is due to a reduction in GST returns, though it puts that down to timing issues.
The Government's economic advisor points out the tax take of $50.5 billion is still 5 percent higher than the same period a year ago, reflecting a stronger economy.
Finance Minister Bill English said the Government's books remained on target to make a modest $372 million next year.
If investment gains and losses are included, the Crown recorded a better-than-expected surplus of $3.8 billion.