(AP) New Zealand's government says it's on track to return to a fiscal surplus next year after finding its books are in better shape than forecast.
The government announced Monday that it posted an operating deficit of 4.4 billion New Zealand dollars ($3.65 billion) in the year ending June 30. That was less than the Treasury forecast of NZ$7.9 billion and less than half the NZ$9.2 billion deficit posted in the previous financial year.
Minister of Finance Bill English said the result was due to better-than-expected tax takes thanks to higher incomes and more consumption, coupled with costs from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake coming in lower than anticipated.
The center-right government has made it a priority to return the country to a fiscal surplus in the financial year beginning July 2014.