What could the Government's $3.7 billion surplus actually buy?

Treasury has revealed a huge surplus in the 2016/17 financial year of $3.7 billion - $2.1 billion higher than expected.

Those are numbers so high, it can be difficult to actually visualise what this amount of cash could do.

The surplus is bigger than predicted, but future surpluses are expected to slide lower than forecast.

Newshub crunched the numbers to see what that $3.7 billion could actually buy - although it's unlikely the Government will consider some of our ideas.


7400 new classrooms

Previous Government announcements point to one new classroom costing roughly $500,000 to build on an existing school site.

48 Sky Towers

The Auckland icon cost $76 million to build - but bear in mind, that was in 1997 so given inflation and rising property prices, you might not get quite as many today.

6166 new houses

That's based on the country's median build cost of $600,000.

Enough to pay 74,000 new teachers for one year

That's going off the starting salary of just under $50,000 a year.

New Zealand is struggling with a teacher shortage as it is, with many citing low pay as a major reason for that. The surplus would be enough to give every current teacher a substantial pay rise.

169 flag referenda

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key's last referendum cost around $21.8 million. That was $4 million under budget but the flag stayed the same - not the result Sir John had been hoping for.

Nearly two accelerated rail links between the airport and Auckland central

The Labour Party estimates the cost of the accelerating the rail link project would require an extra $2.1 billion investment over the next two decades - exactly the same amount as the unexpected surplus announced on Wednesday.

Currently the party is proposing to cover this by bringing back a 2009 policy, which would allow Auckland Council to collect a regional fuel tax.

35 rebuilt ChristChurch Cathedrals

What will happen to the quake-damaged landmark is still up for debate.

Seven Boeing 747-80 passenger jets

Each jet costs around NZ$520m.