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Waitakere Gets Top Ratings

October 29, 2003
MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)

Waitakere Gets Top Ratings

Melbourne based Standard & Poor’s, an international credit agency, has today given Waitakere City Council one of its highest ratings.

The agency has assigned the Council it’s A-1+ rating, its highest possible short-term debt grading.

The Council’s long-term debt rating is AA-, the fourth highest longer term grading possible.

“Council is projecting a rapid increase in its debt burden in the next few years, due to its heavy capital expenditure programme,” says Standard & Poor’s credit analyst, Brendan Flynn. “However, this program is affordable and has been factored into the AA- rating”.

The construction of a new transport centre and library in Henderson, as well as other infrastructure needed because of strong population growth is contributing to the planned capital expenditure programme.

The internationally recognised ratings give the Council access to a wider number of investors, a stronger negotiating position, stronger marketing profile and more competitive interest rates, potentially saving ratepayers thousands of dollars a year.

Janet Clews, chairperson of the Council’s Finance and Operational Performance committee says the approvals send a strong message about the City’s financial position.

“They have looked at our books and told us that we are in very good shape. And just as importantly, they looked at the direction we are taking the City and its long-term economic prospects and expressed confidence in that.”

Mr Flynn makes special mention of the City’s long-term direction.

“Standard & Poor’s takes comfort from the community consultation process undertaken by council in developing its long-term plan,” he says.

Councillor Clews adds: “Consulting with and listening to our community is a commitment we pride ourselves on and we are particularly delighted that this aspect of our City planning has been recognised.”

Only a handful of New Zealand towns or cities hold a credit rating from the likes of Standard & Poor’s. Waitakere’s ratings put it on a par with the likes of Dunedin.

About Standard & Poor’s

Standard & Poor's is the world's foremost provider of independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research, data and valuations. With 5000 employees located in 20 countries, Standard & Poor's is an essential part of the world's financial infrastructure and provides investors with the independent benchmarks they need to feel more confident about their investment and financial decisions. In Australia, the company has been voted INSTO “Rating Agency of the Year” for the third year running.


ENDS

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