A report detailing the financial comings and goings at Whanganui District Council over the last year has been received with the adoption of the 2019 annual report.

Council's general manager of finance Mike Fermor said the report shows financially council has performed well and effectively had a break-even result.

The report shows the surplus from all the money council received compared to what it paid out as $23.7 million, compared with a budget of $35.1m.

That's a variance of $11.3m which was mainly caused by the deferral of the Sarjeant Gallery rebuild, resulting in a delay in receiving donations and grants of $11.6m.


Council spent $20m (net), which was $19.7m below budget.

The capital deferrals noted as carryovers for 2019/2020 include the Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment project, stormwater projects, wastewater projects, road projects, water supply projects, animal welfare centre, port redevelopment project and the velodrome roof. The total value of the deferrals is $27.5m.

Finance costs were $784,000 lower than budget due to general market conditions.

Fermor said council had to be prudent on what is budgeted.

"It was basically a break-even budget, so yes the interest costs were low but don't forget we had increased insurance costs. The market hardened and we had to absorb those extra costs.

"With an $80m, $90m budget there will always be some unders and overs.

"We try to be as accurate as we can, and I still maintain that while we have high debt, having some under-spends at the end of the year which is netted off against debt is probably better than overspending and having to draw down more debt.

"I think we're coming in the right direction."


Forestry sale funds being held on term deposit and the pre-funding of March's debt maturities resulted in an additional interest income of $665,000.

"Other expenses" had an unfavourable variance of $6.89m, or 18 per cent variance to the $38.2m budget.

The variance is put down to an unbudgeted loss on the revaluation of derivative financial instruments due to changing market conditions and revaluation loss on remaining forestry and port assets acquired by council.

Other factors were additional costs for repairs and maintenance, insurance costs, and other costs including legal fees, subcontractors and materials.

The annual report was adopted at Tuesday's council meeting which also marked the last council meeting for outgoing councillors David Bennett and Murray Cleveland who are not seeking re-election in this year's election.