Historic drop

Local authorities’ spending on core services (operating expenditure) declined from $8.5 billion to $8.3 billion in the year to June 2013. “This is the first fall in operating expenditure in the 20-year history of the survey,” local authorities statistics manager Michele Lloyd said last week.

Meanwhile, local authorities’ operating income increased 1.0 percent, to $7.9 billion. Income from rates increased $90 million in 2013, the lowest increase since the global financial crisis in 2009. Most councils showed increases but these were offset by a 3.4 percent decrease in Auckland Council's income from rates (down to $1.3 billion).

In the year ended June 2013, local authorities’ operating deficit was $392 million, an improvement from the June 2012 year deficit. Once capital transactions are considered, the operating balance of local government is a surplus of $1.0 billion, up $524 million on the 2012 year surplus and the highest since the financial crisis.

Despite this surplus, government finance statistics showed local government needed to borrow more in 2013 to finance additional infrastructural work. Net borrowing was $1.1 billion in the June 2013 year.
Local government's net worth was $101.3 billion at 30 June 2013, up 1.7 percent on the June 2012 year.

Read more: www.stats.govt.nz 

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