Comparative Surpluses

NZ is one of the smallest countries in the OECD, which makes a surplus in the lague of $11.5 billion all the more extraordinary. The surplus is an incredibly high 7.3% of GDP and 22.1% of Crown Tax Revenue.

If other countries were running a surplus at 7.3% of GDP, this is how large their surplus would be (in NZ$):

Australia $74.8b
United Kingdom $232.7b
United States $1.320 trillion

No other OECD country would have a Finance Minister claiming he can’t afford tax cuts with that level of surplus. They would be laughed into oblivion.

So what would be a good level of surplus? I think 1% of GDP is a prudent level to have. One also has the Cullen Fund which is around 2% of GDP, so even with that one could make do with a surplus half the size of the current one. And that is without touching even a cent of government expenditure.

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