News & Insights – Wellington councils withdraw first green loans from Local Government Finance Agency

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Providing funding to local government since 2011, LGFA is delighted that Wellington’s two councils are the first beneficiaries of its Green, Social and Sustainable Lending (GSS) program, which extends funding at a margin below standard lending rates of LGFA.

LGFA chief executive Mark Butcher said his agency recognizes the risks climate change poses for boards and is keen to support their transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We also recognize that we have a role to play in helping member boards build a stronger and more resilient society through ambitious environmental and social projects.

“This loan will allow the local government sector to achieve green and sustainable results.”

Under LGFA’s Green Buildings category, Wellington City Council will borrow up to $ 180 million for the construction of Tākina, the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Center.

Due to its opening in 2023, Tākina received a 5-star design rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council for a design that reduces energy use by 60% and carbon emissions by 66% compared to de comparable new constructions.

Wellington City Mayor Andy Foster said features like the rainwater harvesting system, smart air conditioning and improved thermal insulation would minimize Tākina’s environmental impact as well as operating costs.

“The GSS loan could save taxpayers up to $ 7.2 million in interest over the building’s more than 80-year life, adding to Tākina’s green credentials that are already attracting conference bookings.

“Built with the highest levels of seismic resilience using environmentally friendly materials, Tākina will have display screens to show visitors real-time sustainability metrics, such as water and energy consumption. , as well as carbon emissions. “

Borrowing from the LGFA’s Climate Change Adaptation category, Greater Wellington’s $ 227 million GSS loan will finance its flood protection work on the RiverLink project.

This involves improving the banks on either side of the Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River, and deepening and widening the river channel to protect downtown Lower Hutt from flooding for 440 years.

Greater Wellington President Daran Ponter said that in addition to protecting the city, the flood protection works would improve the ecological health of the waterway.

“By making more room for the river, we can create more habitat for fish, including ponds and undermined banks – places where trout, native eels and hooks will thrive.”

“Taxpayers will also be pleased with the reduced cost of borrowing on the GSS loan, which could represent savings of up to $ 113,000 each year over the 100-year life of the asset.”

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