New Zealand plunges into red after 'simple mistake'
An accounting error by the NZ tax authority, plunged the country’s budget into the red for the first time in 15 years
An embarrassing accounting error wrongly plunged the
New Zealand budget balance
$NZ394m (?157m) into the red in January – the first time the country has
recorded a deficit in 15 years.
But officials from the Inland Revenue Department, the country’s tax
authority, today revealed they had failed to take into account $NZ600m in
provisional tax. The revised accounts put the government’s operating balance
back in black at about $NZ200m.
Finance Minister Michael Cullen said the IRD commissioner and the head of
Treasury had apologised to him over what was a ‘simple mistake’.
John Whitehead, Treasury secretary, told reporters that officials began to
doubt the accuracy of the number as they got early indications that February tax
revenue was much stronger.