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Glenn Leach Responds 

Subsequent to the post below on Council debt and the Election Report, Glenn Leach has sent me a set of Exel figures without comment - presumably to demonstrate that my comment about the deterioration in the Council’s fiscal position during his tenure was inaccurate.

I concede that based on these figures (provided to Glenn by Council staff) show that total debt (both internal and external) increased from $27m in 2003 to $110 in 2010 – (almost all due to the unbudgeted increase brought about by the fantastic Eastern Seaboard wastewater scheme), and actually reduced to $107m in 2016 at the end of his term in office.  

Although these figures clearly show show these movements, in normal balance sheet terms the reduction in reserves over the period from 2010 to 2016 of some $90m (give or take, because I do not have access to the actual figures) is indeed ‘material,’ and should be taken into account – something the Council has appeared anxious to avoid.

And the listing of 'borrowing' in 2020/21 as only $57m is deceptive, contributing to the lack of transparency. The inconsistent definition of 'borrowing' has been a characteristic of this Council for over ten years - the only constant being confusion. .

Otherwise I stand by my comments, and highlight the failure to disclose in the Election Report the full movement of debt (both internal and external), together with reserves, and alongside average rate increases over the previous three years.

The lack of transparency is remarkable and points to the need for more detailed and consistent disclosure – something that should be a requirement of the Act. Councils should be subject to similar disclosure requirements as entities registered under the Companies Act, and NZX. As it stands, they each appear to carry on as a 'law unto themselves' in the absence of definitive legislation, regulation and case-law.




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