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Waitakere City Councilcredit Rating Affirmed

December 5, 2008


MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)


Standard And Poor’s Affirms Waitakere City Councilcredit Rating

Waitakere City Council has had its financial position re-affirmed by the international credit agency Standard & Poor's. The agency has assigned the Council it's A+ long-term and A-1 short term ratings.

Standard and Poor’s says the Council credit rating is supported by its cash position, and the absence of risk associated with substantial Council Controlled Trading Organisations. Waitakere City Council also benefits from being part of the wider Auckland Region which represents a strong economic base.
Standard and Poor’s confidence echoes the recent sign-off on the City’s accounts by Audit New Zealand.
While retaining the overall rating, in light of the global economic situation and the Council’s projected capital works programme, Standard and Poor’s did revise its outlook to negative.

Chairperson of Waitakere’s Finance and Operational Performance Committee, Ross Clow, says that cautionary approach was expected. “Just a few months ago Standard and Poor’s were very positive about our position. But as everyone knows the world economy has changed drastically,” he says. “The key thing is that our credit rating has been retained which means we retain the ability to access credit on very favourable terms and service our debt.”

He adds that Waitakere is among only a handful of Councils in the country who have a credit rating. “So we remain in a strong position, despite the outlook.”

Standard and Poor’s will continue to monitor the Council’s position and their outlook will be revised after the Council has finalised its Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). Those budgets and associated work programmes will be publicly consulted on in the New Year.

“Since the global recession we have been working on our budgets, re-prioritising expenditure and we are looking particularly closely at capital projects and how they impact on future debt,” Mr Clow says.

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

Ends

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