My proposal that Waikato Regional Council commence a sustainable home loan scheme will soon go out for public consultation. Low interest loans to targeted ratepayers who opt in to the scheme would be repaid monthly over 10 years through rates. The loans can be used to for insulation, heating, ventilation, double-glazing, solar power/batteries, water tanks and upgrading septic tanks. The programme is designed to be cost-neutral and run at no cost to general ratepayers.
At its meeting last week the regional council agreed to include my proposal in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan consultation document so that the public can comment.
What Could I Do with a Sustainable Home Loan?
- More homes that are warmer and drier to help improve health
- Water tanks to cope with droughts
- Increased energy efficiency, and greater use of renewable energy in the Waikato
- Better water quality by getting rid of contaminating leachate from septic tanks that need replacing
- Continued improvement of air quality
- Affordable loan finance available to people who might otherwise be unable to access it
How does it work?
- The program is designed to be cost neutral for general regional council ratepayers. The aim is that the total cost of administering the scheme is covered by ratepayers who benefit from the scheme.
- Council borrows money at a low interest rate to on-lend to ratepayers. This is a loan not a grant.
- Customer obtains a quote for approved work from a list of approved suppliers.
- Independent credit checks and rate payment history are checked.
- Council lends the GST exclusive value of the services to the ratepayer.
- This is in the form of a Voluntary Targeted Rate (VTR) on the property, which is calculated based on a table loan repayment over 10 years and repaid monthly.
- The interest rate of the loan (likely to be 4%) includes a small lending margin which subsidises the cost for the service with the aim that there is no cost to general ratepayers.
- The risk of default on loans is very low and the council can always recover any outstanding loan when the property is sold.
The proposed programme will be further developed in the next few weeks and will then go out for public consultation as part of the Long Term Plan process in the next few months.
Hawkes Bay Regional Council has been running a similar and very popular programme for the last two years. Check out their programme here .
What do you think about this proposal? Comments welcomed.