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Local Authority Statistics

Local authorities generated a seasonally adjusted surplus of $26.3 million from their non-trading activities for the March 2000 quarter. Deputy Government Statistician Ian Ewing said that although both income and expenditure are lower than in the December 1999 quarter they have fallen at a similar rate so that the surplus has remained similar to the level recorded in the December 1999 quarter. The latest Quarterly Local Authority Survey result shows that expenditure decreased by 1.3 per cent and income decreased by 1.4 per cent between the December 1999 and March 2000 quarters.

Seasonally adjusted operating expenditure, excluding losses from non-recurring items, was $944.9 million in the March 2000 quarter, down $12.3 million from the December 1999 quarter. Decreases were recorded in employee costs, depreciation and interest paid. Purchases of goods and services was the only item to record an increase, up $4.1 million. Local authorities' employment costs have generally been stable over the last two years. A peak in the December quarter reflects the extra cost to councils of employing staff over the New Year period as part of Y2K contingency plans.

Seasonally adjusted operating income, excluding gains from non-recurring items, was $971.2 million, down $13.4 million from the December 1999 quarter. Decreases were recorded in investment income; government grants and subsidies; and rates, petrol tax, licence fees and fines. Although investment income is lower than in the December quarter, it has remained higher than historic levels. Dividends received by councils this quarter reflect special dividends from air and sea ports. The dividends are funded either through capital transactions such as raising loans or selling property, or from trading activity.


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