by Veronica Harrod

Loss on sale of public asset

Horowhenua District Council has lost $852,000 from the sale of land to the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust. The financial loss was noted in the 1 July to 31 December 2020 six month financial report presented to Council’s Finance, Audit and Risk committee yesterday by chief financial officer Doug Law.

Mr Law said the “unfavourable variance” of $852,000 related to a sale of industrial land on Roe Street, Levin sold to the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust. The charitable trust was established in 2018, with the support of Council, to benefit all Horowhenua residents.

When Foxton Beach resident Olaf Eady asked how the sale price of “any of these assets sold to the trust” was arrived at, Mr Law said he wasn’t “privy” to discussions about the sale price so “couldn’t really comment.” Finance, Audit and Risk committee chair Philip Jones said the price set between the Council and the trust was, “resolved by a formal resolution and discussed at the time.”

When Mr Eady enquired about the difference between the book value and cash value of the Roe Street land Mr Jones said, “This is not a debate. We have noted your question; Council will consider that.”

Cr Wayne Bishop described the financial loss as, “simply a timing issue.” Mr Philips said the timing issue referred to market value being determined at the end of the financial year, but the agreement to sell the Roe Street land was made “some time ago. “Mr Philips described the loss as more of a “technical loss” than “an actual loss. “The loss contributed to debt levels of the Council increasing to $106 million as at December 31, 2020.

New deputy chair of the FAR committee is Councillor Christine Mitchell who replaces former deputy chair Barry Judd. Mr Judd did not stand as a candidate in the 2019 local body elections.

From left: Horowhenua District Council’s chief financial officer Doug Law, chair Philip Jones and meeting secretary Karen Corkill.