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05 October, 2022 | 02:18 AM

Record tax take improves NZ accounts

Record tax take improves NZ accounts
New Zealand's finance minister has lauded the state of his government's books, saying the country's fiscal accounts "are among the strongest in the world". On Wednesday, Treasury reported a $NZ9.7 billion ($A8.5 billion) deficit in the year to June 30, about half of what was tipped in the May budget. Above-forecasted core crown revenue of $NZ117.5 billion ($A103.5 billion), or 30.2 per cent of GDP, and below-predicted core crown expenses at $NZ125.6 billion ($A111.4 billion), at 35 per cent of GDP, produced the improved bottom line. In a comparison he is fond of making, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said NZ measured up favourably against Australia, and other OECD countries. "Across the key economic measures of growth, unemployment and government debt we're in a better or similar position to the likes of Australia, the US, UK and Canada," he said. Net debt is at 17.2 per cent of GDP, below the government's debt ceiling of 30 per cent. A Treasury note said the International Monetary Fund saw NZ's debt as a percentage of GDP at about half of Australia's, one quarter of the United Kingdom's, and one-fifth of the United States'. Mr Robertson told Kiwis, "We have every reason to be feeling positive." "Our borders are open, COVID restrictions are largely gone, and we are in a position to lock in the gains of near-record low unemployment, rising incomes and a larger economy than before COVID," he said. "We're set to accelerate our progress this summer as tourists and international students return, and working holidaymakers and skilled migrants fill workforce gaps." The NZ Herald reports the bumper tax take is the first time a government has raked in more than $NZ100 billion ($A88 billion) in a financial year. The opposition seized on that number, with National party finance spokeswoman Nicola Willis saying it proved the need for tax relief. "In just five years, tax revenue has skyrocketed 43 per cent ... an average of $15,000 more in tax for every household in the country," she said. National is bashing the government on its tax record, which includes the introduction of a new top income tax rate of 39 per cent which kicks in at $NZ180,000 ($A159,800). Mr Robertson said National's policies to abolish that rate and reverse tax changes on investment homes were imprudent. "Now is not the time to fritter it away with tax cuts for the wealthiest New Zealanders and property investors," he said. Sign up for our emails