Lakes Leisure boss says $6404 surplus or is it $480K?

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The boss of not-for-profit Lakes Leisure says it made only $6404 last financial year – but audited accounts show a $480,000 surplus. 

Lakes Leisure chief Fiona McKissock reckons $480,000 overstates the true picture. 

Her $6000 figure excludes a capital grant of $638,000 from Lakes Leisure owner Queenstown Lakes District Council. 

However, the accounts include the council’s capital grant after depreciation – as required by accounting rules. 

“It’s confusing,” McKissock admits this week. 

Mountain Scene: In terms of true accountancy rules, your surplus is $480,000? 

McKissock: “It is too, yeah.” 

MS: Your accountants and your auditors, their version is the $480,000 … 

McKissock: “M-m-m.” 

MS: … and the Lakes Leisure version is $6404? 

McKissock: “Well, we just tried to be clear and transparent with our users that if you split your operating and your capital [revenues] out, it becomes clear.” 

She adds that the auditors allowed her to state her alternative $6404 surplus in a commentary accompanying the accounts. 

The accounts’ “statement of financial performance” – required by QLDC to be prepared in a particular format – includes QLDC’s entire $638,067 grant in a table of “total revenue”. 

After depreciation, the re-maining $472,730 of the grant is included in “operating surplus” – council-speak for the bottom line. 

There’s no note in this financial performance statement to say the operating surplus is inflated by the QLDC grant.
Lakes Leisure would have good reason to play down the not-for-profit quango’s results, given local sports groups bitterly opposed recent fee hikes. 

But no, we’re not fudging the figures, McKissock says: “My intention is to be absolutely transparent with the community about the level of operating funding and where that money goes.” 

In fact, Lake Leisure sports field and pool revenues are flat and QLDC grants are the big growth area – all told, council grants total $2.63m, up $637,000. 

The quango’s only real bright spot is its new health and fitness centre, which pulled in $382,000 from 1006 members – well up on budget. 

Lakes Leisure staff costs have swollen, jumping $466,000 to $2.25 million. One employee – probably McKissock – grosses $140,000-$150,000 annually.