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Council Sticks With Airport Share Sale Plan

June 20,2002


The Auckland City Council has confirmed its commitment to the sale of its shareholding in Auckland Airport.

The council is going through the process of investigating the best strategy for selling the shares.

Next month the finance committee will consider a report on the proposed sale options which are being put together by its professional advisers.

The Deputy Mayor David Hay says, “The Council must go through a process that sees every possible bid or option put on the table. We will then sit down and weigh up which option will bring maximum benefits to ratepayers.”

Councillor Hay, says, however, that if the sale goes through, a priority will be to repay council debt.

“The council should act like any responsible parent – most parents aim to be debt-free so they can pass on their assets to their children and grandchildren, rather than pass on debts.

“Right now when we need to invest in the city. It makes more sense to sell the airport shares and to pay off debt so ratepayers do not have the rates increased to cover the interest cost of debt.

“There is no point in holding shares when you have current debt and a pressing need to invest in community assets.

“The Auckland City Council is not a financial institution and shouldn’t be in the position of holding assets when the council is building up debt.” If no action is taken debt will increase from $150 million to over $300 million with commitments to Britomart and an indoor arena at Quay Park”.

ENDS

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