New Zealand local authorities’ finances improved in the three months to September, with Statistics New Zealand measuring an operating deficit improvement of NZ$43 million due to a rise in grants, subsidies and donations.
Local authorities reduced their operating deficit to NZ$6.8 million from NZ$49.3 million in the June quarter.
The September quarter operating deficit was NZ$72.4 million lower than the NZ$79.2 million deficit in the September 2010 quarter.
Driving the deficit decrease was a 64% rise in current grants, subsidiaries and donations to NZ$355.5 million from the September 2010 quarter, and the highest quarterly income from this source in the last six years, apparently reflecting government spending on infrastructure projects.
Grants and subsidiaries contribute to local and regional infrastructure such as roading, rail and bus services along with civil defense, sport, recreation and the arts.
Total rates income continued to rise, at NZ$1.164 billion, a 7% increase from the same period last year.
The authorities’ costs continued to rise in the September quarter, up 2.3% to NZ$1.969 billion, with the increase attributed to general operating and a 2.9% increase in employee costs.