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Government Finance Statistics (Local Government): Year ended June 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 June 2015
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 2014.

Extended eliminations for council-controlled organisations

We have eliminated the funding flows between Auckland Council and its CCOs, and its equity ownership of the CCOs. This was extended to interest payments between Auckland Council and its CCOs, resulting in revisions to previous data.

Museum balance sheet classifications

We have reclassified artwork collections held by museums as valuables instead of machinery and equipment, resulting in revisions to previous balance sheet data.

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. We include transactions that occurred between 1 July 2010 and 31 October 2010 in data for the year ended 30 June 2011.

Internationally, GFS 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 we produce.

Local Authority Financial Statistics release finishes

The information and media release of the Local Authority Financial Statistics (LAFS) will no longer be available, starting for the year ended June 2014. We made this decision as part of our commitment to using GFS as the preferred framework for reporting on government fiscal activity and to avoid confusion releasing two sets of statistics using the Local Authority Census. See table 7 for a reconciliation between the LAFS and GFS operating statement.

See Infoshare for information about the local authorities' operating income, expenditure, and financial position.

Subject categories - Local Authority Financial Statistics - LAF


Each year we make revisions arising from new and more up-to-date information.

Consolidating council-controlled organisations

Our coverage of local government includes two council-controlled organisations (CCOs). These are Auckland Transport and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development. Auckland Waterfront Development Agency is no longer part of the local government sector covered by GFS.

We have eliminated funding flows between Auckland Council and its CCOs, and the council's equity ownership of the CCOs, from 2011 onwards. Due to information constraints, data before 2011 does not include eliminations.

Consistency with other periods or datasets

The set of concepts and principles that is the GFS is one of the International Monetary Fund’s 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.

We treat income from water rates as sales of goods and services in the GFS, rather than as taxation revenue. This is different to this income's treatment in the LAFS.

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 we produce.

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, we followed this GFS principle 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 LAFS and GFS.

Flow chart, Operating statement 2014.

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. We use some discretion for the final format of the following tables – to adapt to New Zealand’s circumstances. Generally, the layout 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 we also include transactions in non-financial assets (eg land, buildings, infrastructure, and intangibles). We treat provisions and valuation or other changes 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 balance eliminations (local government)

Shows the funding flows within local government that are eliminated as part of the GFS consolidation process.

Table 7 – Operating balances from LAFS and GFS (local government)

Reconciles the operating balances of  LAFS and GFS (local government).

Table 8 – Comparative balance sheet between  LAFS and GFS (local government)

Reconciles the balance sheet of LAFS 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 local government charges developers 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.

We treat charges, such as admission and parking fees, as sales of goods and services and they are therefore not included in taxation revenue.

Timing of published data

We publish Government Finance Statistics (Local Government) 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

See Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001) for further information on GFS and the concepts and principles behind them.

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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