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Local Government Finance

We have New Zealand's pre-eminent local government funding practice. Our experience covers local authority borrowing, the issue of local authority bonds, and local authorities' participation in public private partnerships (PPPs).

We have acted for more than 60 local authorities on their borrowing arrangements. We developed the funding arrangements that have become the market-accepted standard documentation for borrowing by local authorities. This included a comprehensive security structure over rates, together with the borrowing documentation. We also acted on the country's first-ever syndicated facility to a local authority.

Our local authority bond experience is equally extensive. We regularly act for local authorities on their debt issuances. Our expertise saw us appointed to advise the Auckland Transition Agency on the transfer of the merging local authorities' bond obligations to the new "supercity" Auckland Council. Similarly, Local Government New Zealand turned to us to advise it on structuring the "bond bank" for local authorities.

We have been the lead legal adviser in the majority of the large infrastructure projects in New Zealand involving local authorities.

Examples of our work

  • Local Government New Zealand - development of a new "bond bank" for local authorities (culminating in the Local Government Borrowing Act) and establishment of the NZ Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA)
  • Auckland Council - $1 billion syndicated standby facility (the first syndicated facility for a local authority in New Zealand), $4 billion retail bond programme, $500 million secured commercial paper programme, and $500 million medium-term note programme
  • Auckland Transition Agency - transfer of the merging local authorities' debts and bond obligations to Auckland Council, and new security structure for Auckland Council following the merger
  • Auckland City Council:
    • several PPPs, including Vector Arena (now Spark Arena), the above-ground redevelopment of the heritage Britomart site ($1 billion project), and the development of the Material Recovery Facility
    • $150 million listed bond issue (the first listing of the securities of a local authority in New Zealand) and $350 million listed bond issue
  • Manukau City Council - $350 million listed bond issue
  • Wellington City Council - inaugural commercial paper programme
  • Tauranga City Council - NZ$50 million retail bond issue (the first issue of public debt under the new exemption regime under the Securities Act), and $75 million retail bond issue
  • Various local authorities participating in the LGFA - back-to-back bond issues under the LGFA "bond bank" scheme
  • United Water - franchise establishment for the maintenance and operation of Papakura District Council's water and waste-water services (the first of its kind in New Zealand by a local authority for an essential services