[WELLINGTON] The New Zealand government expects to post a wider-than-forecast budget surplus in the year to June and is more optimistic about its fiscal position going forward, Finance Minister Bill English said Thursday.
Mr English said the government expects to post a NZ$668 million (S$618 million) surplus in the year to June 2016 versus its prior forecast for a deficit of NZ$401 million in the December half-year economic and fiscal update.
It now forecasts a NZ$719 million surplus in the year to June 2017, versus a prior forecast of a NZ$356 million surplus.
"The pace of growth picked up in the second half of 2015 and was stronger than anticipated," said Mr English while presenting the annual budget. The result is upward revisions to both tax revenue and the operating surplus before gains and losses, he said.
"These gains are sustained across the forecast period by ongoing strength in net migration inflows, construction activity and spending by visitors," he added.
The budget's forecast show net debt peaking at 25.6 per cent in the year to June 2017 and the government aims to bring it down to 19.3 per cent by the year to June 2021.