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AA+ grading sums up healthy annual report

2 September 2004

AA+ grading sums up healthy annual report

This week’s AA+ credit rating from Standard and Poor’s is the “cherry on the top” for Auckland City’s healthy annual report received today by the council’s finance committee.

The independent assessment coincides with the preliminary release of the council’s annual report. With the theme ‘Securing Auckland’s future’ the annual report examines the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004.

Finance and Corporate Business Committee chairperson Councillor Douglas Armstrong says the report is a good reflection of a year that was about laying groundwork for the future of the city.

“We’ve got the city’s finances in great shape with zero net debt. We’re looking to the future and focusing our attention on preparing the city for the exciting challenges ahead,” he says. “This means significantly more investment in vital infrastructure, the central business district and local communities.

“For three years running we have kept the rates increase to within the level of inflation which means we need to ensure we’re making the most of every rates dollar. This puts pressure on the day to day costs of running the council as well as limiting the amount available for new projects. But a tight control on expenditure means the year’s base operating surplus was slightly above budget,” says Mr Armstrong.

“Over the past year we’ve made decisions which are vital for the city’s future development including new zoning regulations and a $120 million investment in the city’s outdated transport and stormwater networks,” says Mr Armstrong.

The council has substantially increased the amount spent on new projects or improvements, with capital expenditure rising from $162 million in 2003 to $244 million in the year to 30 June 2004. The 2003 figure excludes the Britomart project, which is considered separately because the project’s magnitude has a distorting effect on the figures.

In addition to the council’s significant capital investment, Auckland City has looked for ways to work with the private sector to help fund major initiatives.

“Over the last year we have signed tight partnership agreements with companies that share our vision for the city and work is finally now underway on the construction of the Arena and the revitalisation of the Britomart heritage precinct,” he says.

Six hundred community groups around the city received a total of around $6.1 million and the council invested $27.7 million on projects to improve or build new community assets. A new residential 8 zone was introduced to ensure quality urban design in selected growth areas and major progress was made on the Auckland Urban Living project. This includes the completion of the council's $2 million upgrade of the Glen Innes town centre.

The Finance and Corporate Business Committee received the draft report today and it will now go to the 9 September council meeting for final approval. The final version will be released on 26 September. The draft report is available to view at www.aucklandcity.govt.nz in the 2 September meeting agenda.

ENDS

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