Fi­nance rules ‘need­less’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

New rules aimed at mak­ing coun­cil fi­nances eas­ier to un­der­stand are a waste of time, mayor Len Brown says.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (Fi­nan­cial Re­port­ing and Pru­dence) Reg­u­la­tions come into force on May 1. They set out seven bench­marks which can be ex­plained in sim­ple graphs to show whether a coun­cil has met its goals.

But Brown says they are un­nec­es­sary and the gov­ern­ment should im­ple­ment those changes for its own books.

‘‘If they ap­plied the same trans­parency reg­u­la­tions to their own bud­gets, we might ac­tu­ally get some­where in this coun­try.

‘‘We are sub­ject to con­stant over­sight by the au­di­tor-gen­eral; we have monthly re­port­ings on the state of our bud­get to our com­mit­tee struc­ture in open ses­sion that any­one in the com­mu­nity can come and ob­serve.’’

The seven goals are: Rates af­ford­abil­ity, debt af­ford­abil­ity, bal­anced bud­get, es­sen­tial ser­vices, debt ser­vic­ing, debt con­trol and op­er­a­tions con­trol.

Most of the guide­lines sim­ply show whether a coun­cil has met its bud­get goals.

As­so­ciate lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Sam Lotu-Iiga says the new rules will pro­vide in­sight and im­prove de­ci­sion mak­ing at a lo­cal level.

‘‘This will mean both the cur­rent po­si­tion of a coun­cil and the past and pro­jected trends in its fi­nan­cial man­age­ment will be more trans­par­ent to ratepay­ers.’’

Coun­cils will have to in­clude the bench­mark graphs in their reports for the 2013-14 fi­nan­cial year by Oc­to­ber 31.

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