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LTP methodology

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2015-25 LTP data

Data presented in these tables were collected from each council’s published final 2015 LTP. As the councils’ LTPs are often presented differently, the Department of Internal Affairs has interpreted the data from the LTP statements against a consistent framework.

This data dictionary describes in detail the framework adhered to by the Department of Internal Affairs when compiling individual council's 2015-25 long-term plans (LTPs).

Accounting variability

Accounting treatments vary among local authorities, making it difficult to produce a set of strictly comparable statistics. Data for some variables is not always available, this is where a council has either not provided the figures in their LTP, or they have a value of zero. Due to the way councils present their accounts, certain line items are more robust than others. For more details about what constitutes each data item, please consult the “Data Dictionary” (xlsx) workbook that is available for download from the “Local authority long-term plans” section of the localcouncils.govt.nz website.

Changes to financial reporting regulations also mean some aspects of the way councils report some data will have changed slightly when comparing previous LTP datasets to this one. The changes to regulations have also provided other sources of information, such as funding impact statements that have been used in preference to previous sources of information. Items to note in any comparison between historical and current LTP datasets include:

  • The Auckland Council did not exist at the time the 2009 LTPs were developed. While the eight former councils that were amalgamated into the current Auckland Council did prepare 2009 LTPs, it is not recommended that any direct comparisons be made between these councils and the current unitary authority.
  • From 2012 water by volume rates are no longer part of the targeted (or total) rates line item, in the 2012 LTPs they were in the fees and charges line item and in the 2015 LTPs they were recorded as a new separate line item.
  • Capital expenditure in 2012 and 2015 was taken from the funding impact statement. Capital expenditure reported in the 2009 LTP comes from the ‘additions to fixed assets’ line item in the Cash flow Statements.
  • Not all councils reported development or financial contributions income in their statement of financial performance in 2009 or 2012. In some cases this has been extracted from the funding impact statements.
  • Likewise, not all councils reported subsidies. When this was the case, it was extracted from the funding impact statements to give more complete sector totals.
  • From 2015 local authorities are required to report prospective and actual financial information using the NZ approved versions of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (NZ IPSAS). The Department does not believe this makes a material difference to data comparability.

Care should also be taken when comparing this data with previous LTP datasets as well as the historical Local Authority Financial Statistics (LAFS) produced by Statistics New Zealand or other council publications.

This data may be subject to revision as councils review the dataset and provide feedback to the Department.

2012-22 LTP data

This data dictionary describes in detail the framework adhered to by the Department of Internal Affairs when compiling individual council's 2012-22 long-term plans (LTPs).

2009-19 and 2006-16 LTP data

Acronyms

  • FIS – Funding Impact Statement
  • CIS – Comprehensive Income Statement
  • PSFP – Prospective Statement of Financial Position

The following assumptions were adhered to when analysing individual council's 2009-19 LTPs. This methodology follows that developed by the Department of Internal Affairs and MWH to analyse 2006-16 LTPs.

Income

Income Item Components from LTP Primary Source Secondary Source
Rates Rates revenue, target rates, general rates CIS FIS
Development Contributions Development Contributions, Reserve Contribution, Development Levies, Financial Contributions. CIS FIS
Subsidies Operating & capital subsidies, government grants, grants & subsidies, financial assistance, Contribution from Subsidies. CIS FIS
Investment Income Interest, Dividends, net Income of joint venture CIS FIS
Vested Assets Vested Assets CIS FIS
Asset Revaluations Revaluations & biological revaluations CIS FIS
Other Balancing Figure, fees & charges, activity revenue, grants & donations, infringements & fines, royalties, petrol tax, rental income, other rental, capital gain on asset sale. CIS FIS
Total Income - CIS -

Expenditure

Expenditure Item Components from LTP Source
Direct Costs All payments to employees and suppliers, other expenses, operational costs CIS
Interest Finance costs, interest expense, loan interest CIS
Depreciation Depreciation & amortisation CIS
Other - CIS
Total Expenditure - CIS

Assets

Assets Components from LTP Source
Monetary Assets Cash & cash equivalents, Investments current and non-current, dividends due, dividends receivable, other financial assets, derivative financial assets. PSFP
Fixed Assets Property, Plant & Equip, Restricted Assets (recreation reserves), operational assets, infrastructural assets. PSFP
Investment properties Investment properties PSFP
Other Assets Investment in Council Controlled Organisations & Other Entities, Forestry, Inventory, Debtors, Postponed Rates, Accounts Receivable, GST Refundable, Prepayments, Intangible, Operations. Trade & Other Receivables, Biological Assets, Non current assets held for sale. PSFP
Total Assets - PSFP

Liabilities

Liabilities Components from LTP Source
Public Debt Borrowing (Current and Non-Current), Other Financial Liabilities PSFP
Other Liabilities All other – Grants Payable, accounts Payable PSFP
Total Liabilities - PSFP

Operating Activities Cash Flows

Operating Activities Cash Flows Components from LTP Source
Operating Receipts Total cash provided from operating activity Cash Flow Statement
Operating Payments Total Cash Out Cash Flow Statement
Net Operating Cash Flows - Cash Flow Statement

Investing Cash Flows

Investing Cash Flows Components from LTP Source
Receipts from Investing Activities Total cash provided from Invest Activity Cash Flow Statement
Purchase of Property Plant & Equipment Property Plant & Equipment Cash Flow Statement
Purchase of Other investments Net increase in investments Cash Flow Statement
Net Investing Cash Flows - Cash Flow Statement

Financing Cash Flows

Financing Cash Flows Components from LTP Source
Cash Receipts from Financing Activities Loans Raised Cash Flow Statement
Cash Outgoings from Financing Activities Repayment of Public Debt Cash Flow Statement
Net Financing Cash Flows - Cash Flow Statement

Sub totals

In the financial summaries certain records are coloured red to denote that they are sub totals. This applies to:

  • Components of Public debt to identify the proportion long and short tem debts
  • Components of Capital Expenditure to identify whether expenditure is on renewals of purchase or fixed assets

On occasion these items are left blank. This is where a council has either not provided the breakdown figures in their LTP or they have a value of zero.

Annual Plans

Where possible we have included the 2008/09 annual plan figures where they have been published as part of the 2009 LTP. Where there are missing figures for the 2008/09 annual plan they have been noted they are not available (n/a). There will be missing items in the 2008/09 annual plan figures where items were taken from the Funding Impact Statement

Accounting variability

Accounting treatments vary among the local authorities, making it difficult to produce a set of strictly comparable statistics. Data for some variables is not always available, this is where a council has either not provided the breakdown figures in their LTP, or they have a value of zero.

Due to the way councils present their accounts, certain financial summary categories are more robust than others. Changes in financial reporting standards between 2006 and 2009 have significantly changed aspects of local authority accounting. For example, total comprehensive income now includes changes to asset values through revaluations, this creates an inflated total income figures in comparison to 2006 figures.

The financial items which should be treated with caution are:

  • Investment in CCOs & other entities - there is a large variation in the way these investments are reported by councils, therefore the figures presented may be under-reported.
  • Monetary assets - as identified in the methodology this category contains a wide variety of items, some unique to a particular council. Therefore it is unlikely that theis category will be consistent amongst councils.
  • Other assets - again this item has a wide variety of items included which are very much dependent on the councils accounting practices. This creates little consistency in the component items amongst councils.
  • Development Contributions – there is a large variation in the way these contributions are reported by councils, therefore the figures presented may be under-reported.

When analysing the above items additional care should be used, especially when making comparisons between councils. The summary categories will often not be directly comparable due the components for the summary category differing amongst councils.