Last year's ‘surplus’ more apparent than real
Last year's ‘surplus’ more apparent than real, says ARC chairman
Statement from Michael Lee, ARC chairman
“Unfortunately the bulk of the surprising 'surplus' indicated in last year’s ARC annual report (year ending 30 June 07) and reported this week is not a genuine surplus at all, but is made up of several one-off elements.
First, the majority of the surplus is a result of a payment of $21.3 million from Government, as part reimbursement for past regional expenditure on rail capital works.
Another element of the 'surplus' was due to the very generous donation by the Chatelanat family of their 843 hectare farm on the northern Kaipara to the ARC as a regional park. This increased the ARC’s property, plant and equipment value by $6.8 million, so accordingly shows on our books as part of a ‘surplus’.
The remaining surplus is mainly related to Auckland Regional Transport Authority underspending due to budget uncertainty. This money I understand is already allocated, if not spent, on public transport services in the current (2007/08) financial year.
One would think the Government rail reimbursement should be dedicated to other rail or rail-related projects, for which the ARC has a $1 billion dollar commitment over the next 10 years. However there are a number of contending priorities including subsidising Eden Park, for which there is lots of noisy advice.
The ARC will shortly be consulting the ratepayers of the Auckland region on their preferences for how this money should be allocated and other aspects of our next budget.”