Low interest loans to make sustainable improvements like water tank and solar power installations, clean heating, insulation, double-glazing, ventilation and septic tank upgrades are being proposed in Waikato Regional Council's long-term plan.
The impetus for including the scheme in consultation out now came from Thames-Coromandel representative Denis Tegg.
"Although our regional council had not done anything like this before, I could see that it ticked a lot of boxes that squared with our strategic priorities," said Denis.
"When I approached fellow councillors in July 2020 to outline the proposal, there was immediate enthusiasm for it."
He said droughts on the eastern Coromandel showed the need for water tanks, and there were other benefits.
"Many homes are still not warm and dry. Clean heat options reduce air pollution, upgrading septic tanks improves water quality, and more efficient heating and solar power systems help reduce climate emissions."
He says he believes the programme will inject money into the local economy and create jobs for local suppliers.
"Another key benefit is that rating impacts will be specific to those properties participating in the scheme. For all other ratepayers, there will not be any rating impact," said Mr Tegg.
How would it work?
· A ratepayer voluntarily opts into the scheme and obtains a quote from a list of approved local suppliers.
· Regional Council places a voluntary targeted rate (VTR) on the property, with the loan repaid over 10 years.
· Only those that opt into the scheme will be responsible for the loan costs. Rating impacts will be specific to those properties participating in the scheme. For other ratepayers, there is no rating impact.
· Ratepayers need to demonstrate a good credit rating and rates payment history before acceptance. If there is a VTR on the property at the time it is sold, it must be paid off before the sale can proceed.
Luke Baxter is among those locals proactively reducing waste on his building sites and built a Whangamata house that is the Coromandel's first Homestar rated home under the New Zealand Green Building Council system.
Submissions on the Long Term Plan, the Regional Pest Management Plan and the Regional Coastal Plan are now open and can be made until April 30, 2021.