Council's annual report meeting adjourned
Waipā District Council’s Annual Report for the 2020/21 year has been impacted by some ‘challenging and complex’ issues, together with audit resourcing constraints, so the adoption of the report has been deferred until Tuesday 30 November.
The item was up for discussion at this week’s Audit and Risk Committee and Council meetings, however last minute auditing delays have delayed the adoption, said Chief Financial Officer, Ken Morris.
“We are in the slightly uncomfortable and unfortunate position where the sole purpose of our meeting was to seek a recommendation to adopt the annual report. Unfortunately, we haven’t got there for reasons outside our control”, said Morris at the Audit and Risk Committee meeting.
Morris noted an infrastructure asset revaluation, led to the discovery of Council assets either duplicated or not previously recorded.
“Local government infrastructure networks are complex, with hundreds of thousands of asset components in the asset databases. A data scrub had identified a $17 million write down which due to its historical nature required disclosure as a prior period error to comply with the accounting standards.
“For roading assets, not only are the assets recorded in short lengths, but there are also separate asset records for the subbase, the basecourse and the top seal. That can make the accounting a challenge” added Morris in explaining the complexity of the asset databases.
Leon Pieterse from Audit New Zealand explained that these issues were not confined to Waipā, but a common issue across many New Zealand Councils. Global challenges such as audit staffing shortages also contributed to the delay in reporting, and this had been the key issue in the delay at Waipā.
“There is a severe auditor shortage across the world and specifically in New Zealand. Lock down in the Waikato means our audit is not as efficient and takes longer than it normally would,” said Pieterse.
Over the coming week, Audit New Zealand will finalise their audit report for discussion at the Audit and Risk Committee, then the full Council meeting, both scheduled for Tuesday 30 November. People can view the meetings’ livestreams on the Council’s YouTube channel and website at www.waipadc.govt.nz/livestream.