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Oceania   The New Zealand government squeezed it out

New Zealand managed to find milestone surplus: $6.5 million. Million, not billion

Steven JoyceThe New Zealand government squeezed out an operating surplus of just 9 million NZ dollars ($6.5 million) in the six month ending December last year, the New Zealand Treasury said.

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However, the government's financial statements showed the surplus compared to a Treasury forecast from December of an operating deficit of 666 million NZ dollars ($481.52 million).

The "favorable variance" of 675 million NZ dollars ($488.02 million) was largely due to the higher than forecast core tax revenue and lower than forecast core expenses, said a Treasury statement.

Tax revenue was 313 million NZ dollars ($226.29 million), or 0.9 percent, higher than forecast, while core expenses at 38.1 billion NZ dollars ($27.56 billion) were 303 million NZ dollars ($219.07 million) lower than forecast.

The majority of this discrepancy in spending to forecast was due to the 7.8-mangitude earthquake that rocked the northeast of the South Island on November 14 last year, as costs were to be quantified with enough certainty to include in the actual results.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce said the surplus did not appear much, but it was a significant milestone.

"This is the first time since 2008 that the government's books have been in surplus halfway through the year," Joyce said in a published speech to business people in Auckland.

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