Local Authority Statistics: December 2011 quarter

Definitions

About local authority statistics

Local authority statistics are quarterly accounting-based estimates of the money local authorities in New Zealand earn and spend on their core business. They provide information on non-trading activities of local authorities, such as local government administration, providing water, roading, parks and reserves, and planning and regulation. We provide national-level statistics.

More definitions

Amortisation: the gradual writing-off of the value of a non-physical asset over time. It is charged on intangible assets, such as software.

Assets: are what local authorities own. Assets represent a store of value, and can be a source of income or generate economic benefit when used.

Depreciation: the gradual writing-off over time of the value of a physical asset such as infrastructural assets, restricted assets, buildings, mobile equipment, and other plant, machinery, and office equipment.

Employee costs: the gross earnings of all employees paid by the local authority. It includes overtime, sick and holiday pay, severance and redundancy payments, levies paid to the Accident Compensation Corporation, and employer contributions to superannuation schemes.

Government grants and subsidies: include grants, subsidies, and levies from central government, and other local authorities and organisations. Grants treated as equity contributions are not included.

Interest payable: interest charged on public debt and other liabilities.

Investment income: predominantly consists of income from interest and dividends.

  • Interest income includes interest earned from deposits, short-term and long-term investments, loans and other interest-bearing investments.
  • Dividend income arises from council ownership of equity in council-controlled organisations and other entities, and includes councils' share of profits or losses from associates.

Purchases and all other expenditure: includes rent, insurance, fuel, postage, repairs, and maintenance. Contracts for services from separate council trading enterprises are also included.

Purchases of goods and services charged within the authority (overheads) are excluded. Also excluded are loan repayments, purchases of fixed assets, and contract payments for the construction and development of fixed or community assets.

All other expenditure includes grants and donations to other organisations, bad debts, and income tax.

Rates: includes all forms of rates (uniform annual general charges, water rates, and targeted rates). Targeted rates enable a council to apply a special purpose rate to particular properties, such as wastewater, sewerage, or town centre rate. Rates collected on behalf of other local authorities (such as regional councils) are not included. When local authorities use water meter readings to charge for water use, this is included in sales and other operating income.

Regulatory income and petrol tax: regulatory income includes fees and fines. Examples of fees include parking fines, building consents, and dog registration. Admission and parking charges are excluded from this category as they are treated as sales of goods and services.

Sales and other income: includes admission charges, water sold by meter, and other miscellaneous operating income. It does not include sales of goods and services charged within the authority (such as overheads).