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It often seems like a cute CRI contrivance – operating surpluses, taxes and profit/losses – seeing as the research institutes obtain a majority of their income from government funding anyway……

But Statistics NZ has collated the figures from the (now) eight CRIs, and declared that collectively they’ve recorded an almost $10m increase in operating income to $687.9m for the year ended June 2010.

The same CRIs all reported earlier this year (summary here) that changes to the government’s property depreciation regime was going to impact on their bottom lines.

So it has, with a collective deficit after tax of $12.4m, compared to a $12.5m surplus a year before. Before taxation, the CRIs reported an operating surplus that was up $5.3m on last year to $30.4m.

Other financial figures revealed were an increase in operating expenses of $4.7m to $657.4m, taxes paid up $33.7m to reach $40m and total assets increasing by $12m to be valued at $7.13.9m.

Of particular note, and maybe of concern, is that though operating income increased 1.5%, the largest movement was from government revenue. This increased by $26.8m to $356.7m.

Conversely, ‘sales’ decreased by $21.1m to $302m.

Does this mean contracts with the private sector fell?

Hard to say really.

There’s so many loops within loops, and dealings with other government departments that don’t necessarily get counted as a sale……and well, you can make accounting add up to whatever you want really.

What may be more interesting next year is whether, under the recently released statements of core purpose, the CRIs (and Statistics NZ) breakdown sales into something that’s more immediately obvious.

Probably shouldn’t hold our breath!