New Zealand issues $5.5bn in local government bonds

17 Nov 15

New Zealand’s Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) has listed its first multi-billion dollar local government bond, boosting the country’s debt market by 41%.

The agency listed bonds worth NZ$5.56bn on the NZX Debt Market yesterday. The LGFA was established in 2011 to raise debt on behalf of local authorities on more favourable terms and help them to finance projects such as infrastructure.

Local government minister Paula Bennett said: “This is a significant milestone for the LGFA, as New Zealand’s second largest issuer of New Zealand dollar bonds.

“Not only does it extend the investor base and provide councils with better borrowing rates, but it gives New Zealanders a AA+ rated investment opportunity.”

LGFA chief executive Mark Butcher said public listing increases visibility of the bonds with the hope of attracting retail, or ‘mum and dad’, investors, purchasing securities for personal accounts rather than an organisation.

Butcher said it is hoped this will increase the value of the LGFA bonds market. But some note that, while the bonds offer diversity for investors. they are also relatively low in return.

Minister of commerce and consumer affairs Paul Goldsmith added: “The listing highlights the focus this government has on expanding capital markets and driving improved council performance.”

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