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The tax flow into the Government's coffers has slowed, coming in at almost 1.6 billion dollars lower than forecast in the Crown accounts for the past nine months.
GST was $569 million behind estimates and the men with their hands on the economic tiller have a different view on why.
Prime Minister John Key blames thrifty households.
"So it's broadly GST revenue down as New Zealanders are being more conservative in their spending as they get their books back in order, effectively following the same pathway that the Government is."
Finance Minister Bill English blames destroyed households.
"The GST revenue is a product of the earthquake so one of the main issues there I'm advised, is a high level of GST refunds when insurance pay outs are made."
Crown tax revenue for the past nine months was $1.57 billion lower than forecast before the election, with the gap widening significantly in March.
Labour's finance spokesman David Parker says we need a focus on growth, and because that's not happening, the economy is continually under performing.
He says every time the government updates its forecasts it promises jam tomorrow, nek minnit, the results come out and it looks worse.
But Treasury estimates the gap will narrow by about $700 million before the end of the year for a number of reasons, including stronger performance by some corporate taxpayers.
Core Crown expenditure was $1.75 billion, 3.3 percent lower than forecast.
In total, the operating balance for the nine months to the end of March was $800 million higher than forecast, at 6.13 billion.
Photo: Edward Swift