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Government Finance Statistics (Local Government): Year ended June 2013
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  23 July 2014
Data quality

Period-specific information

This section contains data information that has changed since the last release.

General information

This section contains information that does not change between releases

Period-specific information

Reference period

This information release presents government finance statistics (GFS) for the local government sector for the years ended June 2009 to 2013.

Including and consolidating council-controlled organisations

The coverage of local government includes two council-controlled organisations (CCOs). These are Auckland Transport and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development. Previously included Auckland Waterfront Development Agency is no longer part of the local government sector covered by GFS, which results in revisions to previous data.

The funding flows between Auckland Council and its CCOs, and its equity ownership of the CCOs, have been eliminated. This has been extended to sales and purchases of goods and services between Auckland Council and its CCOs, resulting in revisions to previous data.

Including museums

Museums are part of the local government sector covered by GFS. We added the following museums to 2009 data and onwards, resulting in revisions to previous data: Auckland Museum, Bluff Maritime Museum Trust Board, Canterbury Museum Trust Board, Otago Museum Trust Board, Riccarton Bush Trust Board, Sarjeant Gallery Trust Board, Te Manawa Museums Trust, The Globe Theatre Trust, Wellington Museums Trust, and Wellington Zoo Trust. 

General information

Data source

We derived the data in the accompanying Excel tables from our annual local authority census, supplemented by information from individual local authority annual reports and subsequent enquiries to councils.

Accuracy of the data

The previous Auckland region's councils merged on 1 November 2010. As most of these councils produced financial statements covering a 16-month period (from 1 July 2009 to 31 October 2010), rather than the customary 12 months, some balance sheet items and related data were estimated at 30 June 2010. Transactions that occurred between 1 July 2010 and 31 October 2010 are included in data for the year ended 30 June 2011.

Internationally, government finance statistics are presented in a consistent format. However, there may still be underlying data capture, measurement, and recognition-point differences between countries that may affect cross-country comparisons.

The information provided in the local authority census is generally based on audited annual financial accounts. Because local authorities have different organisational structures and accounting systems, data for some council activities and data items is not always readily available, so is sometimes estimated (either by the local authority themselves or Statistics NZ). Such estimation should not materially affect any output produced.


This release contains revisions arising from new and more up-to-date information, additional data for museums, exclusion of data for the Auckland Waterfront Development Agency and extended elimination of transactions between Auckland Council and their CCOs.

Consistency with other periods or datasets

The set of concepts and principles that is the GFS is one of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) four macroeconomic standards. The other three are the balance of payments, national accounts, and money and banking (financial) statistics. As the concepts behind GFS are consistent with these other statistics, GFS estimates are directly comparable with them.

Income from water rates is treated as sales of goods and services in the GFS, rather than as taxation revenue. This is different to this income's treatment in the Local Authority Financial Statistics.

Interpreting the data

While the scope of local government includes all local authorities and local government special-purpose entities, the actual coverage does not include many special-purpose entities. This undercoverage is not expected to materially affect any output produced.

Conceptually, GFS treats individual government entities as if they were all the same single entity, and nets off all transactions (and assets and liabilities) that this entity has with itself. This process is called 'consolidation'. In compiling this output, this GFS principle was followed for the funding flows, sales and purchases of goods and services between Auckland Council and its two CCOs, and its equity ownership of the CCOs.

The flow chart shows the differences in the operating statement of the local authority financial statistics and the government finance statistics.

Flow chart, Operating statements of local authority financial statistics and government finance statistics.

Understanding the tables

While the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 recommends a particular layout for each table, it recognises that different transactions can have greater or lesser importance in some countries relative to others. Statistics NZ has used some discretion for the final format of the following tables – to adapt to New Zealand’s circumstances. Generally, the layout of the tables is consistent with the manual’s recommendations. A brief description of the content and purpose of each table follows.

Table 1 – Operating statement (local government)

A summary of the government’s accrual transactions in a given accounting period. The statement is similar to a company's statement of financial performance but also includes transactions in non-financial assets (eg land, buildings, infrastructure, and intangibles). Provisions and valuation or other changes are treated as other economic flows in government finance statistics rather than as transactions. 

Table 2 – Balance sheet (local government)

Records the market value of a government's stock of financial and non-financial assets, liabilities, and net worth at the end of each accounting period.

Table 3 – Government expenses by purpose (local government)

Shows the functional split of total operating expenses and total net acquisition of non-financial assets from the operating statement.

Table 4 – Taxation revenue (local government)

Identifies the different types of tax chargeable by government.

Table 5 – Non-financial assets reconciliation (local government)

Brings together the transactions in non-financial assets (with the exception of inventories) included in the operating statement, the balance sheet values, and the actual or implied other economic flows associated with those same assets (ie valuation or other changes) between successive balance dates.

Table 6 – Operating balances from Local Authority Financial Statistics and GFS (local government)

Reconciles the operating balances of  Local Authority Financial Statistics and GFS (local government).

Table 7 – Comparative balance sheet between  Local Authority Financial Statistics and GFS (local government)

Reconciles the balance sheet of Local Authority Financial Statistics and GFS (local government).


Rates are the main source of taxation revenue for local government in New Zealand. Other sources include:

  • development and financial contributions
  • petrol tax
  • certain fees and consents (eg income from building permits/consents, animal registration fees, resource management application fees, and liquor licensing fees).

Development contributions are fees that developers are charged for building subdivisions and other new buildings. Financial contributions are charges that fund local authorities management of natural and physical resources. City and district councils receive revenue from a petrol tax collected by oil companies and returned to councils. This revenue is available for general expenditure by the council.

Charges, such as admission and parking fees, are treated as sales of goods and services and are therefore not included in taxation revenue.

Timing of published data

Government Finance Statistics (Local Government) is published 13 months after the end of the reference year. This is to allow local authorities to complete their accounts, including auditors’ approval, and questionnaire processing by Statistics NZ.

More information

Further information on GFS and the concepts and principles behind them is in the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001). The GFSM 2001 is currently being reviewed following releases of updated balance of payments and system of national accounts manuals.

Statistics in this release have been produced in accordance with the Official Statistics System principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics for quality. They conform to the Statistics NZ Methodological Standard for Reporting of Data Quality.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use, directly or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ does not accept responsibility for any such delay.

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