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Auckland Council finances on road to COVID recovery

Auckland Council Group’s interim report for the first six months to the end of December 2022 shows positive signs of recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the challenges that it brought, the Council said today.

Auckland Council Chief Executive, Jim Stabback says while the financial results were healthier than the prior year’s, there was no doubt that financial pressures are growing.

“While we are seeing recoveries in revenue in areas like public transport usage, facilities and venues usage and parking and enforcement fees; there continues to be pressure on our finances from higher interest costs, pressure on wage and salary expenses, and increases in the cost of goods and services for the council,” he said.

“The devastating and tragic weather events that hit Tāmaki Makaurau from 27 January make overcoming the financial situation even harder.

“We know many Aucklanders have been severely affected by the storm, flooding and slips, and our immediate priority is to keep Aucklanders safe. It will take some time to determine the exact impact and costs of the weather events.”

Auckland Council Group Chief Financial Officer, Peter Gudsell says the reopening of the city from lockdowns increased both revenue and expenses.

“Total revenues for the group lifted $444 million to $4.3 billion compared to the previous year’s reporting period, with fees and user charges in particular bouncing back from the first half of 2021/2022.  

“Ports of Auckland Limited also saw revenue increases of $29 million from higher container rates, and the increase in events activity saw Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s revenue increase by $19 million. Auckland Transport revenues increased by $23 million from a rise in patronage and increased use of parking. 

“Of course, the move away from COVID-19 restrictions also led to higher expenses. Total operating expenses lifted $302 million to $2.6 billion compared to the previous year’s reporting period. Repairs and maintenance increased $42 million against the prior year, when a substantial amount of this work was paused or not required.”

Overall, the group’s operating surplus before gains and losses increased by $142 million to $1.7 billion.

“Capital projects also benefitted from the lack of restrictions, although there continue to be constraints on the availability of resources” says Mr Gudsell.

“The group delivered $1.2 billion of capital investment, building community assets and supporting the infrastructure Aucklanders need. This was a 33 per cent rise on the same period a year ago.

“This included the completion of the Eastern Busway between Panmure and Pakuranga, completion of the Hunua 4 water pipeline that adds resilience to the region’s drinking water system, and completing the tunnel boring under the Manukau Harbour for the Central Interceptor Project.”

You can view the full Auckland Council Group Interim Report 31 December 2022 on the Auckland Council website.

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