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AA rating a top result for Hastings

The AA long-term credit rating awarded to Hastings District Council is confirmation that Council’s financial management is strong and expected to remain so.

The grading, assigned by international independent financial analysis and rating agency Standard and Poors, was published this week. The external opinion measured an organisation’s ability to manage and meet its financial obligations in full and on time.

The full rating, AA/A-1+, was equivalent to the highest rating awarded to any council in New Zealand, said Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

The report said the rating reflected Council’s “robust management”, and that “the council’s debt burden will remain moderate relative to its peers”.

“Our ratings on Hastings District Council reflect its robust management and supportive institutional framework, high level of budgetary flexibility, and moderate level of capital spending during the next few years.

“We consider Hastings’ financial management to be a key strength. Its budgets are credible and processes well-established,” the report said.

The assessment took into account up-coming borrowing signalled in Council’s Long Term Plan, needed to pay for significant infrastructure over the next 10 years for drinking water system upgrades, bridge strengthening and central city development.

That borrowing would be funded through the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) which provides loans to councils at interest rates below those available from commercial lenders.

Having an AA credit rating allowed Council to access a further discount on its already favourable interest rate, said Mrs Hazlehurst. “This credit rating forms part of Council’s strategy to keep our district’s rates affordable while delivering quality services and assets to the people of the Hastings District.”

16 February 2018

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