10 Jul 2012

Whangarei council warned about debt levels

8:51 am on 10 July 2012

Whangarei District Council is being warned over its debt levels.

A Whangarei accountant and is delivering a warning to Whangarei District Council over its mounting debt.

Former councillor Frank Newman says Whangarei could end up insolvent if it does not curb its spending.

The council is now $161 million in debt, which equates to about $4500 per ratepayer.

Mr Newman says the council has over-spent its budget in nine out of the past 10 years and the debt just keeps climbing.

He says low interest rates are protecting ratepayers from the impact of that debt, but that won't last.

The council says the debt is manageable. Finance committee chair Warwick Syers says it would have been easy to pull $20 million out of the budget, but the council chose not to cut spending when the recession hit, in order to protect the economy and jobs.