Council: money will stay overseas
While Matamata-Piako District Council has opted not to review its stance on the Power New Zealand Fund, the drums are beating to bring the overseas investment component home.
Last Wednesday’s council meeting heard that the value of the global share portfolio had dropped by about $2 million since the start of the new financial year on July 1.
More than $11 million of ratepayers’ money is invested overseas by the council, which reaffirmed a previous decision to set the July 2007 value of the portfolio ($15.6 million) as the target to cash up and bring the money home.
Almost $12.5m was originally invested in overseas shares in 1999.
The council has been bringing home dividends since 2007/2008, used to offset part of the cost of roading, with $676,000 returned in the last financial year. The balance of the fund, almost $12m, was retained in New Zealand as bonds used by the council for internal borrowing.
Leading the call to bring the money home was Councillor Ash Tanner, however a majority of members indicated they were happy with the status quo.
‘‘We are going to look pretty silly if the (downward) trend continues,’’ said Cr Tanner. ‘‘ We could’ve invested the money in the community or in a bank.’’
Cr Carole Greenville said members were getting flak from ratepayers about rates going up.
‘‘We have a responsibility to our ratepayers,’’ she said. ‘‘ We should bring the money back.’’
Cr Maurice Steffert also suggested the council bring the money home and possibly set up its own finance company to help the community.
However, Deputy Mayor Jan Barnes said cashing up now would realise a significant loss.
‘‘Now is not the right time (to bring the money home),’’ said Cr Garry Stanley.
Financial adviser Michael Chamberlain told the meeting that while there was some ‘‘short term noise’’ in the global money market, ultimately the council’s overseas investment would bring a better return than in a bank back home.
Mayor Hugh Vercoe said the council needed to decide ‘‘what we are trying to achieve’’ with the PNZ Fund.
John Mills, 73 Tawari St, Matamata Sharing stories: Matamata Intermediate room 14 students took their laptops to Firth Primary to show the new entrants digital stories they had created. Many of the animated stories had a pick-a-path option so the children could choose the ending, making it an interactive experience for all involved. Firth new entrants Jordan Baker, left, and Jadah Graham, right, listen to Madison Tims and Emily de Klerk read their story. This is the first time they have done an exercise like this and the children at Firth were delighted with it. The students designed the stories on Power Point and Active Inspire.