Finance Minister Bill English has indicated that further surpluses are unlikely as the economy begins to slow.

The Government announced yesterday that it had delivered on its 2011 election promise to get the Crown accounts into surplus for the 2014/15 year.

In a speech to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Wellington this afternoon, Mr English said the surplus target had been effective "when the books needed a sharp improvement from an $18.4 billion deficit".

The Government has pulled off its promised surplus for the 2014/15 year after Crown accounts released today confirmed a $414 million surplus - a turnaround from the forecast deficit in May's Budget. Video: Mark Mitchell

Treasury would now be looking at whether a fresh set of fiscal targets was required.


"Now the books are back in balance, we need to consider whether a point target in a particular year is still the best option," Mr English said.

Read more:
Government pulls off $414 million surplus

The Government would need to continue showing fiscal restraint because of slowing growth in the global economy. This did not mean "slashing and burning" but continuing to address the drivers of demand for social services.

He predicted New Zealand's growth could fall to 2 per cent by the end of the year.

Mr English said New Zealand now needed to work on its debt, which was acceptable in OECD terms but was "still something we need to get on top of".

"So any new targets will be consistent with ensuring net debt is reduced over time."

New Zealand's gross debt is $60.6 billion, or 25 per cent of GDP.