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Solid six months for council group

Media release

28 February 2014

Solid six months for council group

Auckland Council Group’s results for the six months to 31 December 2013 were released today, showing its progress towards making Auckland the world’s most liveable city. In addition to financial performance, in the six months to December 2013 Auckland has hosted a multitude of events, built and purchased new assets for the region, and continued to deliver day to day services, providing benefits for all Aucklanders.

Finance and Performance Committee Chair Penny Webster says the result reflects a strong financial foundation from which the group can deliver significant planned capital investments to continue creating the world’s most liveable city.

The group has announced an operating surplus of $161 million in the first six months of the 2013/2014 financial year, and increased the value of its net assets by $330 million.

“This puts us in a good place to continue delivering benefits for all Aucklanders. Over the previous six months, we have invested $649 million in key assets which will help us do this. For example, we invested in the Panmure transport interchange as part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative, which will provide more transport choices, improve walking and cycling facilities, reduce traffic congestion and unlock the economic potential of the area.”

Key projects over the six month period include:

• Improving Auckland’s roads and footpaths by investing an additional $182 million

• Helping decrease congestion by taking delivery of our first new electric trains; $47 million invested

• Providing increased capacity for the expected growth in Auckland’s population by investing $28 million in the Hunua 4 watermain project.

Other major regional and local projects giving benefits to Aucklanders include:

• Making it easier for Aucklanders to find out important information through a mobile version of the Auckland Council website, which includes rubbish and recycling collection dates, property valuations and rates, as well as lodging a noise complaint

• Delivering on our commitment to Auckland’s communities by delivering on several long-awaited community projects, including the $5.5 million Ranui Library and the $5.2 million Otahuhu Recreation Precinct

• Responding to new housing legislation by establishing a housing project office and announcing 22 Special Housing Areas

• Continuing development on the waterfront including opening the Shed 10 ferry terminal

• The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki was awarded the 2013 World Building of the Year at the prestigious World Architecture Festival

• Seamless implementation of new licensing regulations under the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2013

• Protecting our built heritage by using the newly set up Auckland Council Heritage Acquisition Fund to purchase the historic Wong Doo Building (1884 – 1885) on Hobson Street and Airedale Cottages (1856) on Airedale Street.

Through these projects and others the group invested $649 million renewing and expanding assets for the benefit of its communities. Operating cash flow funded $395 million of the capital programme, with debt of $254 million funding the balance.

The group also continues to provide value for ratepayers through effective financial management. This includes savings programmes operated throughout the group to improve operational efficiency and prudent management of the group debt portfolio. Borrowings are from diversified funding sources including domestic and offshore borrowing programmes, and the Local Government Funding Agency. This has allowed the group to extend the term of borrowings to provide long term funding stability.

The strength of the balance sheet and effective financial and debt management enabled Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s to reaffirm Auckland Council’s long-term credit ratings of AA and Aa2 respectively. On the back of these the group accessed and raised $297 million on the international financial market in the past six months. Auckland Council is the only local authority in New Zealand permitted to borrow offshore.

The interim report will be available on Auckland Council’s website at the end of March. For the full NZX announcement please click here.

Ends

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