Port partnership windfall good news for rates

A bigger dividend from the council's holding company will offset the Timaru district's proposed rate rise.

The Timaru District Council starts 2014-15 budget discussions today, but already on the table is a promise of an extra $200,000 income in dividends. The council's holdings company, Timaru District Holdings Ltd (TDHL), has offered the increased dividend payment - 10 per cent more than initially planned and equal to 0.5 per cent of the total rate take.

The projected 3.67 per cent increase in the total rate could drop to a 3.17 per cent increase.

Council corporate services manager Tina Rogers said the council received an increased dividend thanks to the success of TDHL's ownership agreement it had reached with Ports of Tauranga.

Last year, the Port of Tauranga invested $21.6 million in a 50 per cent share in PrimePort Timaru and will lease the container terminal for up to 35 years.

TDHL now owns 50 per cent of PrimePort, after Port of Tauranga bought 21 per cent of TDHL's stake and the remaining 29 per cent, previously held by a private consortium.

As part of the deal, TDHL bought about 30 hectares of land owned by PrimePort outside the container terminal and operational port area.

Ms Rogers said TDHL had accrued substantial income after leasing land to fuel companies and other businesses.

Timaru mayor Damon Odey, who is also TDHL chairman, said the agreement with Port of Tauranga had been "nothing but good news".

"This increased dividend . . . reflects the increased revenue stream from TDHL's agreement with Port of Tauranga," he said. "I'm sure there will be more good news to come, as the partnership flourishes."

The Timaru Herald