Government debt hits $60 billion

New Zealand's government debt has hit a whopping $60 billion, despite the Crown's finances being better than expected in recent months.

Today's financial statements from the Treasury showed net debt reached $60b at the end of September, up $4.2b since the end of June.

While net debt is now equivalent to more than 28 per cent of New Zealand's gross domestic product, it was actually more than $400 million lower than Treasury had forecast in May's Budget that it would be at this point.

Based on an estimated population of 4.49 million, the debt is now equivalent to more than $13,000 for every New Zealander.

The figure comes despite the financial accounts of New Zealand being in slightly better shape than forecast, with the operating deficit in the three months to September 30 of $1.3b, some $382m better than was forecast in May.

Treasury said core Crown tax revenue was $14.4b, 1.1 per cent more than forecast, with tax paid by individuals $143m and GST $108m higher than expected. Corporate tax, paid by companies, was $113m lower than expected.

Core Crown expenses meanwhile were $17.5b, 1.4 per cent lower than expected.

Treasury said the variance came mainly from delays in earthquake expenses and Treaty of Waitangi settlements ($88m and $55m respectively).

Fairfax Media