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S&P Rating Affirms Excellent Financial Management

Confirmation of Hutt City's AA- long-term and A-1+ short-term credit ratings should give residents comfort that their Council is on a very sound financial footing and the expectation is that it will continue, said Chief Executive Rik Hart.

"Standard & Poor's have confirmed that our financial position continues to be very strong," said Rik Hart.

"The focus of the previous Council was on reducing debt and containing rate increases. That excellent foundation now means we are able to consider some much needed initiatives to stimulate growth in Hutt City and address the issue of an ageing infrastructure.

"We have put up some major projects in the Draft Annual Plan, which may require significant expenditure. Residents can be assured that our financial management plans will require any such expenditure to be prudent and responsible," said Rik Hart.

Only three councils in New Zealand have a higher credit rating (Wellington Regional Council, Auckland and Christchurch city councils).

Standard & Poor's commented favourably on Council's "very strong operating performance, and demonstrated record of improving upon its forecasts and reducing debt." (media statement 6 May 2002)

General Manager Finance Tony Stallinger said S&P's comments confirmed what he had been hearing from Council's bankers.

"Our borrowing programmes have received excellent support and this is translating into lower interest costs for the benefit of all ratepayers," said Tony Stallinger.

"The $60 million wastewater treatment plant was the largest single project ever undertaken and funded by Hutt City. The Council has been preparing for this major expense for many years by consistently reducing debt. It is great to have S&P come out so strongly in support of the Council's financial management practices."

ENDS


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