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Changes to government finance statistics releases

Statistics NZ is introducing a new general government information release compiled under the Government Finance Statistics (GFS) framework on 5 December 2016.

'General government' consolidates all the subsectors of government, eliminating the funding flows and balance sheet positions held between them. In New Zealand, central and local government are the subsectors of general government to be consolidated.

General government figures enable international comparability between countries with different structures of government – such as Australia, which has a state subsector that New Zealand does not.

Email for more information about the release.

The new GFS release

A breakdown to the local and central subsectors will be available within the new general GFS publication. This replaces two separate previous publications.

The new GFS release:

  • Government Finance Statistics (General Government): Year ended June 2016 [to be published 5 December 2016]

The existing GFS releases we are discontinuing are:

  • Government Finance Statistics (Central Government): Year ended June 2016 [was due 29 April 2017]
  • Government Finance Statistics (Local Government): Year ended June 2016 [was due 17 June 2017]

Improved timeliness of GFS data

The data timing for the existing central and local government subsectors will be brought forward seven and five months, respectively, as a result of the December release date.

The improved timeliness means the underlying Local Authority Census (LAC) data for GFS local government will be unavailable for the latest published GFS year in future. In the absence of LAC data, we calculate provisional estimates for local government using a mixture of survey data, alternate data collections, and imputation methodology. In subsequent publications, we will replace the provisional estimates from the previous year with LAC data and calculate new estimates for the latest year.

New balance sheet series

This year’s GFS publication will include a more detailed breakdown of balance sheet categories. Some existing categories may be revised down, or removed entirely, as a result of reclassifying some underlying instruments. The new categories are:

Financial assets: ‘Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)’, ‘Financial derivatives’, ‘Insurance technical reserves’, and ‘Other accounts payable’.

Liabilities: ‘Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)’, ‘Financial derivatives’, and ‘Other accounts payable’.

In addition to the new detailed instruments, we will introduce an official gross and net debt time series for each sector of government. These debt figures are derived using international best practice methodology consistent with the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 and the Public Sector Debt Statistics 2013.

Layout of new tables

The layout and series identifiers of the existing central and local government tables will differ in the new general GFS release. The tables are restructured so the general, central, and local government tables look the same but with slightly different series identifiers that use ‘G’, ‘C’, and ‘L’ to distinguish between each sector.

See the attached Excel file for the series identifiers and table layout of the new release. Note: we include no data.

Data available on Infoshare

All data in the new GFS information release will be available on Infoshare under:

Subject category: Government finance
Group: Government financial statistics – GFS

The central and local GFS operating balance data that is currently available will not be accessible on Infoshare leading up to the new release as we migrate over to the new series identifiers.

If this is a problem for you, please email

Published 17 October 2016

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