Councils are significant users of energy in their own right but, more importantly, they heavily influence their community's use of energy through planning, waste, transport and emissions control policies. Accordingly the Energywise Council Partnership between local government and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) was launched in 1999. The Partnership involves 21 of the country's largest councils who are particularly active in energy management issues or see energy efficiency or renewable energy as an important area of focus within their community. The purpose of the Partnership is to foster improved energy efficiency, energy conservation and greater supply of renewable energy consistent with the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. The local government partners commit to specific actions and cooperative endeavours with technical, marketing and advisory support from EECA. EECA has developed this as a pilot programme and it is now up to councils to continue the energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy gains identified through the partnership model. EECA administers crown loans which assist councils with projects to assist energy efficiency and renewable energy. Another of the ways which EECA has been working with councils is through assisting the development of regional energy strategies, which involve local councils assessing and developing strategies for their local energy resources. In another initiative working with local government, EECA has been promoting a pilot programme of "voluntary targeted rates" whereby ratepayers can elect to pay-off an insulation and clean heating retrofit of their homes by adding the cost to their rates bill and paying it off over a 10 year period. This system provides an alternative method of payment for home insulation retrofits, compared with adding the cost to the mortgage or paying in cash themselves - and it seeks to assist the uptake of the Government home insulation and retrofit scheme Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart. As at December 2015 seven Councils, covering approximately 60% of the New Zealand population, offered voluntary targeted rates.