The Government's books have missed Treasury's quarterly forecasts by $725 million - but in a good way.
The operating balance before gains and losses in the three months to the end of September was a surplus of $222 million, beating Treasury estimates of a $503 million deficit.
Chief Government accountant Paul Helm says a higher than forecast tax take was behind the difference.
Core Crown tax revenue was $525m higher than forecast and $1.1 billion more than at the same time last year. It was driven by an increase in corporate tax as well as residential investment and spending by tourists.
Core Crown expenses at $18.9b were slightly less than predicted.
Combining gains and losses, the operating balance was a surplus of just over $2.3b - $2.2b bigger than forecast.
The result comes after the Government posted a $1.8b surplus for the last financial year, which also well exceeded estimates and prompting renewed talk of tax cuts in election year.