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Published: 2014-05-23 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is in a sound financial position thanks to prudent budget management, ongoing cost control and a high performing investment fund.

At this month’s finance committee meeting, councillors heard the council continued to perform well financially and was on track to return a surplus this financial year.

Committee chairperson Jane Hennebry welcomed the involvement of the new audit and risk committee set up to ensure the council is managing risk appropriately and to provide an assessment of financial performance and management controls of the organisation. The subcommittee, which met for the first time in March, is chaired by Auckland accountant Hamish Stevens, one of two external appointees.

“This additional layer of expertise adds further opinion and robustness around risk in the finance area organisation-wide and is particularly important as the council works through some large projects, such as the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora project to improve water quality in the Waikato and Waipa catchments,” Cr Hennebry said.

The committee has an advisory role and will make recommendations to the finance and audit committee.

Cr Hennebry said the council’s investment fund continued to perform well and had returned $5.2 million so far this year. The fund had grown from $68 million in 2009 to $85 million today.

Meantime, the committee discussed new reporting regulations requiring councils to report against financial benchmarks aimed at measuring whether they are prudently managing revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, investments and general financial dealings. 

“These additional benchmarks will give our ratepayers confidence that we are effectively managing the council’s finances on their behalf,” Cr Hennebry said.