A higher tax take and lower spending have put the Government's books in a healthier state than forecast.
The Government recorded a $3.012 billion deficit in the eight months to the end of February.
The deficit was $556 million lower than forecast due to tax revenue $719 million higher than expected.
Core tax revenue rose 2% to $37.6 billion.
Although employment was forecast to be lower, especially among those on lower incomes, those in work paid a higher amount of tax.
The Treasury said that reflected wage growth, and increased consumption, as shown by higher GST revenue.
Core Crown expenses were $45 billion - $370 million less than forecast - due largely to the settlement of some Treaty of Waitangi claims taking longer than expected.
The New Zealand Aid programme was $96 million less than expected and about a third of the savings will be spent in the next financial year.
Once gains from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC are taken into account, the Government recorded a $4.3 billion surplus, rather than a forecast deficit.
Net debt stood at $57.7 billion, or 27.6% of Gross Domestic Product.