By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - The Auckland Council voted on Friday to sell 7% of its 18.09% stake in Auckland Airport (AIA.NZ>), New Zealand's biggest, as part of a plan to reduce the local government body's debt.
Auckland council members voted 14 to 6 to pass the city's budget, which includes the partial sale of the city's stake in the airport. One council member abstained.
The stake is worth roughly NZ$885 million ($539 million) and will be used to pay down the city's debt. Auckland Airport's shares were up 0.5% to NZ$8.62 in afternoon trade.
In the financial year ended June 30, 2022 the city had NZ$11.1 billion of debt, a figure that is expected to have increased in the current year.
Mayor Wayne Brown had originally proposed to sell the city's entire stake in the airport to enable local taxes to only rise in line with inflation and services not to be cut. However, that plan had to be adapted after he failed to win majority support on the council.
Auckland Council took nearly two days to debate the budget, with protesters interrupting proceedings. Brown said it was passed with more relief than joy.
An Auckland Airport spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, but had previously said a change in shareholding would not have any impact on the day to day operation of the airport.
($1=1.6418 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.