Local authorities have run surpluses for the past two quarters - the first surpluses since the end of 2007.
The surpluses were achieved in part due to better investment income and other sales income rather than a big rise in rates.
The operating surplus in the March quarter for all local authorities was $50 million. Income also exceeded expenditure by $63m in the December quarter last year, Statistics NZ said.
They were the first surpluses since the $14m surplus in the December quarter of 2007.
Operating income - money for core services - for the March 2012 quarter was $2.0 billion, up 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter.
Operating spending on core services also increased during the same period, by 1.0 per cent, to $1.9b.
Investment income (up $19m), and sales and other operating income (up $10m), were the main contributors to the rise in operating income.
There were smaller increases in regulatory income and petrol tax (up $7m) and rates (up $3m).
These rises were partly offset by a fall in current grants, subsidies, and donations income (down $34m).
The rise in operating expenditure was mainly due to increases in depreciation (up $14m) and employee costs (up $11m). These increases were partly offset by decreases in purchases and other operating expenditure (down $6m) and interest expenditure (down $1m).