The Green Party wants to offer homeowners up to $36,000 in grants and loans to make their homes more energy-efficient and healthy.
It also proposes to allow landlords to deduct the tax from $18,000 of upgrades made to up to two rental properties.
Greens co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw claims it will save the average Kiwi household $700 annually on its power bill and will reduce emissions.
The election promise, estimated to cost almost $4.9 billion over three years in capital and operating expenditure, comes a week after the party proposed to make dental care free for everyone and paying for it with a 2.5 per cent wealth tax on the richest 0.7 per cent of New Zealanders.
Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson are expected to speak about the announcement today.
Within the $36,000, $6000 would be a grant for owner-occupied homes that could pay for a quarter of any upgrades which included solar panels, ventilation, replacing gas appliances with renewable alternatives, heat pumps, insulation, installing double-glazed windows and electric vehicle chargers.
The remaining 75 per cent of the cost could be paid through an interest-free loan of up to $30,000, which would be administered by regional councils, and paid back through rates over a 10-year term.
If the home was sold before the loan has been repaid, the new owner would continue paying the voluntary targeted rates, unless the remaining amount was settled at the point of sale.
The Greens intended to scale up the payment over three years with an initial focus on lower-income households, meaning more than half of owner-occupied households would have access to grants within the next three years.
A central fund created to support the loans would be administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.
Funding for the grants would come from the Climate Emergency Response Fund (Cerf) with the assumption that future revenue from the Cerf would reflect a higher carbon price, and the Cerf would continue to be topped up.
The Greens had estimated 60,000 homes would take up the grant each year, while the party’s modelling suggested 30,000 homes would take out a loan each year.
To ensure rental properties were not left out, the Greens would make up to $18,000 of upgrades tax-deductible to incentivise landlords to improve their homes.
It would apply to a maximum of two rental properties and they would need to stay rented for at least three years after the upgrades were installed.
“The Clean Power Payment will cut costs for families while also taking the urgent action we need to cut climate emissions and reach net-zero,” Greens co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw said.
“Instead of leaving families to waste money on cold, draughty homes, as successive governments have, the Clean Power Payment will upgrade our homes so they are warm and healthy.
“The Clean Power Payment is as close to a perfect investment as you can get: slashing soaring bills for families, slashing emissions, and creating thousands of good jobs.”
The Clean Power Payment was part of a broader Zero Carbon Homes upgrade that would also add solar energy to 30,000 more Kāinga Ora homes in the next three years, expand Warmer Kiwi Homes to cover more home energy upgrades and fund community energy providers.
Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.