Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) is fairly typical of a NZ local authority in that Council is a sophisticated borrower with autonomy around the management of its interest rate risk exposure. Councils can access funding through a number of sources such as traditional bank funding, private placements and, in more recent years, the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA). As at 30 June 2014 PNCC had debt of $117 million and $104 million of pay fixed swaps to provide certainty of interest costs. PNCC has a Treasury Policy which prescribes that no more than 45% of the total borrowings should have a floating rate profile. Pay fixed interest rate swaps are entered into to hedge the fair value interest rate risk. PNCC has been a Hedgebook client for a number of years graduating from one-off valuations for 30 June Financial Reporting requirements, to an on-going subscription client using Hedgebook’s Treasury Management System, HedgebookPro. Says PNCC’s Strategy Manager – Finance Steve Paterson, “It is important that Council manages ratepayers’ money in a transparent and prudential manner. Using HedgebookPro provides an appropriate level of comfort that the risks arising from financial instruments are adequately captured and monitored. Additionally, the reporting functionality helps the Finance team to operate efficiently.”
The majority of NZ’s local authorities are borrowers and many are using derivatives to manage the interest rate risk. Several NZ councils are using Hedgebook’s Treasury Management System including Kapiti Coast District Council, Nelson City Council, Selwyn District Council, South Taranaki District Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Masterton District Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council.