Moderation in economic activity is being reflected in the government’s books, while New Zealand is facing challenges ahead, including the cost of living, the impact of recent extreme weather and the uncertain global economy, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Tuesday. For the nine months to the end of March, core Crown tax revenue was 2.3 billion NZ dollars (1.46 billion U.S. dollars) below forecast, partly offset by core Crown expenses being 700 million NZ dollars (443.7 million U.S. dollars) below forecast, Robertson said. Overall, the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of 3.4 billion NZ dollars (2.16 billion U.S. dollars). That was 2.5 billion NZ dollars (1.58 billion U.S. dollars) higher than forecast at December’s Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update, and 4.7 billion NZ dollars (2.98 billion U.S. dollars) lower than that for the same period a year ago, he said. Net debt was 19.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), below the forecast of 20.4 percent of GDP and well below the government’s debt ceiling of 30 percent, he added. The Treasury has estimated the cost of asset damage from the floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in the first two months of 2023 at between 9 billion and 14.5 billion NZ dollars (5.71 billion-9.19 billion U.S. dollars), with half of that related to infrastructure owned by central or local government such as roads.