WELLINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government claimed Monday it had more than halved its operating deficit in the year to the end of June and was on track to hitting its target of an operating surplus in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Higher tax revenue and lower-than-forecast core expenses helped to lower the government's operating deficit before gains and losses to 4.4 billion NZ dollars (3.64 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of June, compared with 9.2 billion NZ dollars the previous year.
The result was considerably better than the deficit of 7.9 billion NZ dollars forecast by the Treasury in May last year, Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement.
"We are well on track to return to Budget surplus in 2014-2015. It's important we get there because, until we do, we will continue to increase our debt. Despite the considerable progress we are making, there is no room for complacency," said English.
"In the past financial year, we were still borrowing a net 110 million NZ dollars a week, compared to almost 260 million NZ dollars a week in 2010-2011. Once we reach surplus, we will then have choices about reducing our debt and investing more in priority public services and important infrastructure."
Treasury's Budget 2013 forecasts showed net core government debt was expected to increase from 10.3 billion NZ dollars in June 2008 to more than 70 billion NZ dollars by June 2017.
"An active approach to managing the government's finances needs to continue for a number of years to get debt down to below 20 percent of GDP by 2020," English said.