Council’s Strong Credit Rating Unchanged
APRIL 12, 2002
Wellington Regional Council’s long-term credit rating has been held steady at AA by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, with a “stable” outlook for the future.
Council Chairperson Margaret Shields said having the AA rating reaffirmed was very timely as the Council heads into the next long-term planning process and was evidence of the Council’s very solid financial management.
“It is pleasing to know that the WRC is considered such a good credit risk as the future does hold challenges for us, particularly around the future of passenger rail.”
Standard & Poor’s have said that they will wish to review the impact of the rail proposal on the Council’s credit rating as it is firmed up. Councillor Shields said she was confident the Council would manage this issue positively but prudently.
“The rating is also evidence to the ratepayers of the Wellington region that this Council continues to give them value for money and makes sound investment decisions. We have an excellent track record in our overall management and I look forward to continuing our strong performance.”
A Standard & Poor’s spokesperson said, “the WRC group is on track for a reduction of its net debt to less than 50% of operating revenue by fiscal 2005”.
In its report, Standard & Poor’s said, “the Wellington Regional Council has shown prudent budgetary management in the past and has consistently posted higher operating surpluses than forecast. The resultant strong operating cash flows have enabled the WRC group to reduce its net debt to 63% of operating revenue in fiscal 2001 from 87% in fiscal 1995.”
The WRC’s short-term credit rating remains at A-1+, also with a stable outlook.
The AA credit rating ensures that the WRC stays in very select company and means the Council’s rating is maintained at a higher level than many of the banks in New Zealand. Of the other local authorities in the Wellington Region, only The Hutt City Council has a credit rating (AA-) from Standard & Poor’s.