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Manukau Leisure performs ahead of budget

Manukau Leisure performs ahead of budget
October 24, 2008

Manukau Leisure Services Ltd has reported improved performance in its first year of operation and posted an ahead-of-budget profit.

The Manukau City Council-controlled organisation has increased revenues and gained efficiency - resulting in $1 million reduction in grant required from the council.

The provider of leisure, health and childcare services received a funding of $12 million from the council during the year ended 30th June 2008. In turn, it subcontracted support services and facility leases from the council for $4.9 million. It also recorded over 3.5 million visits to its facilities during the year - an increase of 2.8%.

Speaking of the results, Chairman Dr Stuart Middleton explains, "these gains have been possible because we could build on the council's proud record of 25 years of providing fitness and leisure programmes, and 18 years of providing childcare services.

"We delivered all services at the same costs previously charged to customers, while still maintaining and expanding numerous free services." (Manukau Leisure provides free swimming pool access to the residents of the city.)

Dr Middleton went on to add, "we have achieved a smooth transition from being a council unit to a stand-alone company, for our 400 staff and our customers."

During the year Manukau Leisure received customer approval ratings of 91.22%, as identified in a survey by the University of South Australia's CERM project, and also reported 10.3% savings on water costs and 3% savings on power.

In addition, the pilot launch of new ultra-violet filtration in the city's Lloyd Elsmore Park Leisure Centre in Pakuranga resulted in $100,000 savings, Chief Executive Brett Jude explaining that "we plan to install ultra-violet disinfection at Manurewa Aquatic Centre and Papatoetoe Centennial Pools next year."

Jude explains that the flexibility and responsiveness that comes from being a stand-alone company, has enabled Manukau Leisure to move quickly in establishing new partnerships with other sports and health providers. As he explains, "for example, once we had established the need for greater access to childcare in Papatoetoe, we set up with Manukau Properties, within just three months, our new Kauri Kids programme, which will soon be expanded to four other sites."

Looking ahead, Jude sees opportunities to generate income for the city by offering expertise to run services beyond Manukau, adding that "we also see opportunities in forming strategic partnerships with large and small agencies."

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