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Council maintains high rating for financial management

Hastings District Council building

Despite a significant programme of water infrastructure work planned for the next three years the Hastings District Council is maintaining a stable financial position thanks to its strong fiscal management and discipline.

This week the council had its AA long term credit rating affirmed by international independent financial analysis and rating agency Standard and Poors, which also predicted a stable outlook for the council amid increased deficits as it rolls out its essential water infrastructure upgrades.

In its report issued on February 19, the agency noted that the council’s water strategy was costed at $47.5 million from 2018 to 2021, a necessary investment to ensure the security of the council’s water supply following the 2016 Havelock North water contamination event.

Other investment was also tagged for the Hawke’s Bay Opera House strengthening, associated arts precinct development, and earthquake strengthening of local bridges.

Although this expenditure would impact on the council’s budgetary performance and debt levels, the agency considered the council’s financial management to be a key strength, supporting the AA long term credit rating.

“Our ratings on Hastings District Council reflect its robust management, high level of fiscal flexibility, and New Zealand’s excellent institutional settings,” the report said.

“We consider Hastings’ financial management to be a key strength – its budgets are credible and processes well-established.”

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst welcomed the financial rating and outlook.

“We have committed a significant investment over the coming three years for vital infrastructure as well as other initiatives that will meet our community’s needs and aspirations.

“It’s heartening to have independent confirmation that we are managing our spending prudently and sustainably.”

22 February 2019

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