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In the “Statement of Intent 2015-2019

Presented to the House of Representatives pursuant to section 39 of the Public Finance Act 1989.

Crown copyright, September 2015

ISSN 1175-5601 (print)
ISSN 1178-394x (online)


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Statements of responsibility

Director-General's statement of responsibility

In signing this statement, I acknowledge that I am responsible for the information on the strategic intentions of the Department of Conservation. This information has been prepared in accordance with Section 38 and Section 40 of the Public Finance Act 1989.

Lou Sanson Signature.

Lou Sanson
2 July 2015

Responsible Minister statement

I am satisfied that the information on strategic intentions prepared by the Department of Conservation in this Statement of Intent is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of the Government.

Maggie Barry signature.

Hon Maggie Barrie ONZM
Minister of Conservation
2 July 2015



Conservation is at the core of our national identity. It is what makes New Zealand special. It is the ‘engine room' of New Zealand's tourism industry and drives our global reputation. Our environmental credentials differentiate New Zealand's primary produce exports in a very competitive world. We also rely on many of the essential natural services our environment provides, from the fresh air we breathe and the food we eat to the natural processes that provide clean water, and prevent flooding and erosion.

A healthy environment is necessary for healthy people and a healthy economy – without it New Zealand would not prosper. Our vision New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth reflects a desire to be prosperous in all ways – in social, economic and environmental health, wealth and wellbeing. This vision is larger than the Department of Conservation (DOC) and larger than just conservation. It recognises that conservation has more than intrinsic value, and it forms the foundation of DOC's strategy – that conservation benefits all New Zealanders and is therefore everyone's responsibility.

Our nature has shaped who we are. It is intrinsic to our Kiwi way of life and our national identity, and it underpins our economy.

To meet the challenge and make progress in the medium term, DOC intends to:

  • Work with whānau, hapū and iwi and communities to protect, restore and manage our natural places and native species
  • Grow conservation by working in partnership with others including business
  • Ensure that caring for nature is seen by New Zealanders as everyone's responsibility
  • Continue to embed the new structure and strategy.

Additionally, in order to focus our efforts even more strongly, we have developed a set of stretch goals for the next 10 years.

  1. 90 percent of New Zealanders' lives are enriched through connection to our nature.
  2. Whānau, hapū and iwi are able to practise their responsibilities as kaitiaki of natural and cultural resources on public conservation lands and waters.
  3. 50 percent of New Zealand's natural ecosystems are benefiting from pest management.
  4. 50 freshwater ecosystems are restored from ‘mountains to the sea'.
  5. A nationwide network of marine protected areas is in place, representing New Zealand's marine ecosystems.
  6. The stories of 50 Historic Icon sites are told and protected.
  7. 50 percent of international holiday visitors come to New Zealand to connect with our natural places.

Vision, purpose and outcomes

The Department's vision is that New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth – a place where, increasingly, the knowledge and commitment of New Zealanders is focused on restoring and sustaining a natural environment. To achieve this vision, DOC's outcome statement is that New Zealanders gain environmental, social and economic benefits from healthy functioning ecosystems, recreation opportunities, and living our history.

New Zealanders want their natural and historic heritage conserved. To foster that commitment, the Department's overarching purpose statement is Our nature – conservation leadership for what makes us New Zealand. The focus of DOC's purpose is our leadership role as guardians of ‘our nature' – the natural environment and historic/cultural heritage that make New Zealand unique and which underpin our national identity, economy and lifestyles.

The Department has developed five intermediate outcomes around which conservation work is organised, that express the results we are seeking to achieve through our interventions. These are shown in the outcomes model diagram below.

Conservation outcomes model.
Figure 1: Conservation outcomes model

Four of the five intermediate outcome statements have recently been updated – those related to historic heritage, recreation, engagement and business partnerships – to sharpen their intent and make them easier to understand and communicate.

The foundation statement related to the Department's relationship with Treaty partners has been strengthened and expanded: A living Treaty partnership based on shared values for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Stretch goals and priorities

Diagram of stretch goals and priorities.
Figure 2: Stretch goals and priorities

Key milestones

In addition to the Government's and Minister's Year 1 Priorities, and in response to the medium-term operating environment, the Department has set the key milestones outlined below to drive performance for the Stretch Goals and Intermediate Outcomes. These are reported through the Department of Conservation national performance indicators table.

Table 1: Department of Conservation key milestones



Intermediate outcome: The diversity of our natural heritage is maintained and restored

By year 50

Intermediate outcome objective
  • A full range of New Zealand's ecosystems is conserved to a healthy functioning state
  • Nationally threatened species are conserved to ensure persistence
  • Nationally iconic natural features and species are maintained or restored
  • Locally treasured natural heritage is maintained or restored in partnerships
  • Public conservation lands, waters and species are held for now and future generations

By year 25

Stretch goals

By year 10

  • 50% of New Zealand's natural ecosystems are benefiting from pest management
  • 50 freshwater ecosystems are restored from ‘mountains to the sea'
  • A nationwide network of marine protected areas is in place, representing New Zealand's marine ecosystems


Consolidate the top 500 terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and implement to standard.

Seek support from others, especially for rare ecosystems outside public conservation land.

Begin a multi-year programme to re-categorise the protection status of stewardship lands with high conservation values.

Develop a multi-year programme to implement Marine Protected Area policy.

Years 1–4

Increase from 100 species to 300 species by integrating with ecosystem representation.

Grow involvement of others in building knowledge of data-deficient species.

Years 1–4

Engage with whānau, hapū and iwi, community, business and others about nationally-iconic natural features and species by providing a set of sites/species as a basis for discussion.

Years 1–2

Create a baseline set of up to 50 Local Treasure partnerships and support and up-skill partners so they can work more independently.

Years 1–2

Grow activity with others both in partnership and in support of others working independently.

Implement Tier 1 monitoring for freshwater as part of a collective action programme with other agencies.

Years 1–2

Intermediate outcome: Our history is brought to life and protected

By year 50

Intermediate outcome objective

  • More New Zealanders engage in their heritage and value the benefits of interacting with it
  • Historic heritage is protected and conserved for future generations

By year 25

Stretch goals

By year 10

  • The stories of 50 Historic Icon sites are told and protected


Implementation of five additional Historic Icon sites.

Acquire knowledge of the best ways to bring heritage to life.

Develop and implement an action plan to bring history to life in collaboration with other agencies/partners.

Years 1–2

Years 1–4

Years 2–4

Work with whānau, hapū and iwi and communities to engage them in bringing history to life and in historic heritage asset management.

Years 1–4

New Zealanders and our visitors are enriched by outdoor experiences

By year 50

Intermediate outcome objective

  • Icon destinations support the growth of tourism and generate economic benefit
  • More New Zealanders enjoy Gateway destinations
  • More people enjoy Locally Treasured destinations
  • More people enjoy the backcountry

By year 25

Stretch goals

By year 10

  • 50% of international holiday visitors come to New Zealand to connect with our natural places


Implement long-term upgrades of four iconic destinations.

Grow visitation through marketing and engaging with others who share an interest in economic development through tourism.

Years 1–4

Prioritise improvements to Gateway destinations near to or easily accessible from main population centres.

Work with others to reduce barriers, making it easier for school groups and families to visit Gateway destinations.

Years 1–4

Engage with communities to jointly decide how they can be involved in managing Locally Treasured destinations.

Years 3–4

Work with partners and other stakeholders to enable and grow their involvement in and contribution to the backcountry network.

Implement a programme to match service delivery standards in the backcountry network to changing market demand.

Years 1–2

Intermediate outcome: New Zealanders connect and contribute to conservation

Every business fosters conservation for this and future generations1

By year 50

Intermediate outcome objective

  • Conservation is core to New Zealanders' identity, values and thinking
  • More conservation is achieved by others
  • Conservation is seen as an essential investment in New Zealanders wellbeing
  • Conservation outcomes are maximised from business partnerships
  • Businesses are more capable and motivated to undertake conservation independently of DOC
  • DOC's own products, services and brand maximise conservation and business outcomes

By year 25

Stretch goals

By year 10

  • 90% of New Zealanders' lives are enriched through connection to our nature
  • Whānau, hapū and iwi are able to practise their responsibilities as kaitiaki of natural and cultural resources on public conservation lands and waters2


Refresh and implement the Outreach Strategy.

Implement conservation education in schools.

Refresh teaching and learning resources.

Years 1–2

Years 2–4

Years 3–4

Build healthy partnerships by working alongside whānau, hapū and iwi.

Harness partnership opportunities with potential to transform outcomes – natural heritage, historic heritage and recreation.

Target support for community conservation through the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund and other funds.

Develop tools for reporting community contribution to conservation.

Years 1–2

Years 1–4

Years 1–4

Years 1–4

Build relationships with key natural capital audiences and stakeholders.

Years 1–2

Develop an additional set of six national business partnerships.

Develop a larger set of more than 50 regional partnerships.

Increase revenue from concessions, leases/licences by 3%.

Increase partnership revenue by 5%.



Years 1–4

Years 1–4

Lift the contribution to conservation outcomes from concessionaires by at least 10%.

Years 1–4

Develop and market five new products and services better suited to our range of customers that deliver a real return to conservation.

Continue with a strong visitor centre network, focused on a collection of conservation hubs.

Years 1–4

Capable Department of Conservation




People – DOC has the people capability and culture needed to safely deliver its strategic direction and operating model, to enable more conservation through others and to demonstrate the broader value of conservation

DOC has the leaders it needs to perform well now and in the future.

DOC identifies, builds and manages relationships critical to achieving results.

DOC has the type of culture it needs to safely achieve results now and in the future.

DOC has the skills and competencies to safely achieve results in collaboration with others.

DOC's structure is linked to its future business need.

Years 1–2

Systems, processes and ICT – DOC has the integrated and transparent systems, processes and ICT needed to deliver its operating model and outcomes framework

DOC has access to the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) it needs to achieve results and contribute to others.

Years 1–4

Infrastructure – DOC has the effective and efficient infrastructure needed to deliver its operating model and outcomes framework

DOC's asset-related decisions support future service delivery.

Years 1–3

The context of this strategy

Who we are

The Department of Conservation is responsible for protecting native wildlife, and overseeing the management of about a third of New Zealand's land area and the natural and historical resources it contains. This work sits at the very heart of New Zealand's nationhood – what it is to be Kiwi.

What we do

The Department manages natural and historic resources for their intrinsic values, for the services that ecosystems provide us with today, to safeguard options for future generations and for recreational use and enjoyment by the public. The state of native species, and the health of New Zealand's public conservation land and waters, is core work for the Department. This work is increasingly seen within the broader social, economic and environmental context. With an extensive visitor asset infrastructure, the Department is well placed to support local businesses that underpin the New Zealand tourism industry, worth $24 billion in 2014.

The Department's main functions are:

  • Managing land, fresh and coastal waters that have been protected for conservation purposes – about 8.6 million hectares of land, 44 marine reserves (covering a total of 1.74 million hectares), and 8 marine mammal sanctuaries (covering approximately 2.8 million hectares). DOC's work is focused on areas of land or water where conservation values are high, whether that is for natural or historic heritage or in support of visitor experiences or community engagement.
  • Encouraging recreation on these public conservation lands and waters by providing visitor facilities, including tracks for walking, biking and four-wheel driving, as well as huts, campsites, visitor centres and access to historic sites.
  • Authorising tourism operations and other third parties to use sites on public conservation lands and waters for a variety of activities, such as grazing, electricity generation and transmission, mining, and telecommunication purposes.
  • Protecting marine mammals, preserving native freshwater fisheries, protecting recreational freshwater fisheries and freshwater fish habitats, and conserving protected native wildlife.
  • Protecting 13,000 historic sites, and bringing the history of New Zealand to life through the active management of 650 sites accessible to the public.
  • Providing booking services, information services and safety services, such as weather and avalanche forecasting.
  • Advocating generally for the conservation of natural and historic resources, providing conservation information, and supporting international agreements designed to improve environmental management in New Zealand and internationally.
  • Supporting the Minister of Conservation in exercising responsibilities under other legislation, for example, under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the coastal and marine environment, including in relation to councils' policies and plans, and consent applications regarding these environments.
  • Providing policy and legal advice to the Minister of Conservation, contributing to whole-of-government policy processes, and servicing ministerial advisory committees, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and conservation boards.

The conservation challenge

  • 8.6 m ha of public conservation land – 33% of NZ's land area
  • 13 National Parks
  • 44 marine reserves and 8 marine mammal sanctuaries
  • 2,800 threatened species
  • 330 campsites, 960 huts and 14,000 km of tracks

The context within which we operate

New Zealand's natural heritage shapes our cultural identity. For many, recreation in the outdoors helps to improve health and wellbeing and contributes to a sense of personal achievement. Conservation contributes strongly to tourism, and the Department is one of the country's main tourism providers. The businesses that support or complement tourism are major contributors to our national, regional and local economies.

Conservation protects our natural capital and delivers the infrastructure on which many of our key industries depend. Sound management of the natural environment delivers ecosystem services such as quality fresh water and fertile soil, and these in turn underpin New Zealand's primary production sector and determine New Zealanders' standard of living.

Conservation plays a critical role in supporting the New Zealand brand – the market advantage on which our producers rely. Investing in conserving and protecting our natural resources and heritage is an investment in New Zealand's long-term wellbeing and prosperity, as well as protecting its natural heritage for future generations.

The biodiversity challenge is great. New Zealand has one of the highest proportions of threatened species and one of the highest extinction rates in the world, due to the recent impacts of fragmentation of ecosystems through human settlement and establishing agriculture, and introduced species, despite a third of the country being public conservation land. Our native biodiversity is also vulnerable to the increasing impacts of human-induced climate change, including more frequent and severe storms and a likely increase in predators and weeds.

While biodiversity protection and recovery is being achieved in areas under intensive management, the overall trend outside these areas is that biodiversity is declining and ecosystem services are being reduced.

DOC sits at the heart of New Zealand's tourism industry, with 35 percent of all international visitors coming primarily to experience our natural landscapes. The Department manages most of New Zealand's major natural tourism attractions and provides extensive opportunities for recreation on conservation land and waterways, including for businesses that support tourism.

However, New Zealand society is changing, with more people living in the top half of the North Island and an increasingly urbanised and multicultural society. The location of the Department's networks of tracks, huts, campsites and other visitor facilities will need to change to meet the needs of New Zealanders today and in the future.

Our strategic response is to engage with our partners

The Department recognises that the cost of saving all the species and restoring the health of all the places it has a stewardship role over is well beyond the resources it could realistically expect from the public purse. That has driven the development of the Department's strategic direction – to partner and engage widely with others on a much wider front to achieve more for conservation than the Department can achieve on its own.

Underpinning DOC's engagement approach is the realisation that to succeed in the long term, partnerships must provide clear value to the partner as well as to conservation. This is a new way of thinking for DOC.

One strand of the Department's strategy involves achieving immediate, urgently-needed conservation gains through partnerships that deliver direct, powerful conservation impacts, such as work on recognised national biodiversity priorities. However, a different approach is needed to build the groundswell of societal support required for transformational conservation growth over coming decades. Here, DOC's activities are focused on:

  • Building a wider range of relationships
  • Growing people's awareness, knowledge and skills
  • Involving people in conservation-related activity
  • Supporting the initiatives they lead, both on and outside of conservation lands and waters.

These activities aim to foster a greater sense of responsibility and increased contribution over time. This is the long-term opportunity, and the challenge is to find the right balance between the two, since both require resources from DOC.

Treaty partners and whānau, hapū and iwi

DOC works within a Treaty partnership with all hapū and iwi. All of DOC's partnership work with others needs to recognise the ongoing Treaty partnership obligations with whānau, hapū and iwi. These partnerships are a crucial component to achieving more conservation outcomes. Treaty settlements offer opportunities for confirming ongoing partnerships and strengthening relationships between the Department and hapū and iwi as Treaty partners. As settlements are implemented, iwi have a greater role and influence in the governance of public conservation land. DOC has ongoing commitments to 50 settlements, and the fast pace of future settlements presents challenges to both DOC and Treaty partners' capability and capacity. Te Pukenga Atawhai Programme is helping grow staff capability in this area but more capability building will be required to meet these future needs, particularly when it comes to implementing settlement arrangements and understanding how to reflect iwi aspirations.

Working with other agencies for collective impact

DOC is increasingly engaging in strategic partnerships across local, regional and national government and non-government sectors to gain efficiencies and make a stronger collective impact.

Many of the Department's work programmes align to important sector themes such as freshwater improvements, marine protection and climate change adaptation. Significant joint initiatives include the Battle for our Birds predator control programme, kauri dieback response, great white butterfly eradication, freshwater reform and management, Marine Protected Area policy changes, and growing the network of Marine Protected Areas. The Department, as a part of the Natural Resources Sector (NRS), is working on how to enable resource use decision makers to take better account of impacts on natural capital.3

The Department is also involved in partnerships with local councils, such as Nature Central in the lower North Island which is building on common areas of focus to deliver better services more efficiently. Other important relationships include those with the education sector, the tourism and recreation sector, the Sustainable Business Council, heritage agencies such as Heritage NZ and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and the new Game Animal Council.

Our customers

While DOC's strategy focuses on working within productive partnerships, the organisation also provides products and services to hundreds of thousands of customers annually. These include those New Zealanders and international tourists who walk on tracks, sleep in huts, listen to stories about their history, watch birds, take part in education programmes, are involved in consultation processes, seek advice, operate tourism businesses, hunt for deer, apply for permits, buy visitor centre products or support community conservation projects.

Understanding the drivers, motivations and barriers to New Zealanders contributing to conservation will be a priority for DOC over the next 4 years. DOC is committed to designing products, services and systems that place customers' needs at the centre, working with customers to identify issues and barriers to them working effectively with us and to understand their drivers and needs. Two current initiatives to achieve this are: improving processes for permit applications and streamlining recreation asset co-management agreements.

The Department approaches customers in different ways across the intermediate outcomes discussed above. For example, in natural heritage DOC responds to the desires of communities to conserve their special local places and species by supporting them with training, technical advice and materials. In the historic heritage area, DOC designs experiences that connect people with their history and seeks opportunities for them to share in the development and telling of these stories.

Visitor asset standards are directly related to customer needs. For example, visitors to nationally iconic sites expect and want different facilities than those staying in backcountry huts. The shift to managing ‘destinations' rather than individual assets means whole destinations can be maintained to a consistent standard and makes it easier for others to contribute to managing them. DOC provides services to customers to allow them to book DOC experiences in the way that best suits them, including via online booking sites. The Department is working to improve the ease with which people access its products and services through digital channels, either online via our website, through third parties, or through mobile applications. Currently, about 26% of hut and track bookings are completed online.

The Department uses a range of methods for evaluating customer response. These include the DOC Survey of New Zealanders, stakeholder surveys and visitor satisfaction surveys (for post-visit feedback). DOC also seeks feedback from people attending education initiatives and the results are set out in the Annual Report.

To improve visibility of customers and our interactions with them, a priority is to develop a Customer Relationship Management System that will record relationship information and activity. DOC is also developing Conservation Insight, an online one-stop-shop for information such as customer surveys and research results.

Transforming how we work

The Department is emerging from a period of considerable structural reform to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency, and to orientate its structure towards a new future focused on working with others to achieve more conservation for New Zealand. The changes included a shift to a shared services model for support and service functions, and changes in conservation operational delivery to a regional model to create efficiencies.

This transformation is perhaps the most significant change in the Department's history, requiring a shift in culture and the way managers and staff work. The heart of the work over the next 4 years is to embed the new model internally and build strong, productive internal and external relationships that achieve the benefits described above.

The table below sets out the transformation required: ‘how we do what we do'.

Table 2: Transformation in culture and operation

Internally focused

Right arrow.

Outwardly focused

DOC knows best

Right arrow.

We trust others

Governing for citizens

Right arrow.

Governing with citizens

Organisational silos

Right arrow.

Organisational networks

DOC as service provider

Right arrow.

DOC as service facilitator, collaborator, enabler

DOC-only inputs and processes

Right arrow.

DOC and citizens' own outcomes

Rigid process

Right arrow.


Risk averse

Right arrow.

Managed risk

Three phases of transformation

The Department's transformation – to build strong and productive external relationships and embed the new model – will take some time to be fully realised. There are three key phases to achieving this:

  • Phase one: enabling others to contribute – gearing ourselves up for engaging/collaborating with others to achieve results
  • Phase two: realigning the organisation to the strategic direction
  • Phase three: embedding the new model and building strong productive external relationships that achieve the desired goals.

The Department has now entered the third phase.

Over the next 4 years, DOC will meet this challenge by:

  • Further articulating the operating model to align strategy, structure and staff.
  • Putting in place the systems, processes and culture needed to improve the efficiency and safety of operational delivery. This will enable the Department to:
    • - Set clear business planning targets and performance indicators
    • - Implement the workflow processes in the integrated planning system
    • - Use organisational data (HR, finance, business planning etc) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resource deployment by linking budgets with activity/methods and capability needs, and ensuring work is matched appropriately with staff, tasks and locations
    • - Use work order management and monthly operating reviews (MORs) to ensure individuals and teams are working to role and are delivering to standard.
  • Analysing available data to identify opportunities to reduce costs, for example by adapting visitor asset maintenance regimes in ways that reduce costs but do not impact on visitor experience or safety (refining service delivery standards).
  • Continuing to build the capability of others to contribute to the achievement of the intermediate outcomes.
  • Completing development of a simple, compelling narrative to build staff and stakeholder understanding of the social, economic and environmental benefits that conservation provides to all New Zealanders, and DOC's role in supporting these.

Operating model

In early 2014/15 the Department conducted a 12-month post-implementation review of the new structure. After assimilating the review recommendations, the Department intends to complete the operating model to ensure it provides a full, coherent representation of how the organisation operates and goes about its work.

Components will need to be prioritised and sequenced and include organisational measures of performance, the people capacity and capability required to deliver on goals, systems and processes, and infrastructure and communications.

Risks to sustainability and delivery

DOC's leadership and governance philosophy increasingly reflects the principles of systems leadership applied in a complex organisation. The approach focuses on effective decision-making in uncertainty; it assumes that an adaptive learning approach to problem-solving is needed in a complex, uncertain world where difficult problems are common.

Risk management is part of this systems-thinking approach. The tools and techniques supporting the risk framework provide leaders with ways to explore complex risk environments and to identify practical, optimised responses to risk without being overwhelmed by detail.

Using this approach the Department has identified the four most powerful sources of strategic risk for the organisation. They are:

  • Transformation overload (complexity, workload, change fatigue, confusion)
  • Leadership complexity and overload
  • Internal blockers of internal communication
  • Ineffective setting of shared context for DOC's work.

If these four sources of risk are well managed (or their impacts are reduced), there will be a strong reduction in risk as a whole. The focus is therefore on implementing strong, long-term, whole-of-business response plans to these strategic risks.

Figure 3: Elements of DOC's operating model

Operational risks

The Department is familiar with a wide range of operational risks that it manages in its annual work programme. However, some risks do not conform to annual cycles; the Department manages these specifically as events unfold. These include:

  • Flooding, fire and other extreme weather events. The Department relies on prioritisation approaches to manage responses to these environmental impacts.
  • Other events that rely on the Department's ability to move resources around to manage risks. For example, the Department has recently responded to a key, though irregular, risk in natural heritage related to the natural cycle of beech masting. This type of event results in large-scale predator irruptions that severely impact on fledglings from species such as mohua and kea. Management is responding by shifting Departmental resources around, and timing operations and the funding required to best effect when mast years are predicted.

This approach often means that resources need to be prioritised and then reserved until field conditions allow DOC to make the greatest impact on these predator populations. This management strategy will be further advanced as communities' skills in pest control techniques are improved, and communities engage in priority work at the right time to maximise their impact based on monitoring programme predictions.

Financial sustainability and managing cost pressures

The Department uses three main interconnected strategic levers to achieve financial sustainability and manage cost pressures over the next 4 years and beyond. These are:

  1. Partnership strategy – increasing engagement, and working with others. The aim is to grow conservation through working with and enabling others.
  2. Prioritisation tools – natural heritage, historic and recreation prescriptions, and working on priorities to achieve the greatest contributions to outcomes.
  3. Operating discipline – now that major structural change is complete, DOC's focus is to embed the new structure and operate efficiently and effectively.

The partnership strategy is outlined in the strategic intentions section above. DOC's prioritisation tools are described in Part III of the DOC Four-year Plan, available at

The focus on operating discipline seeks to instil a culture that places greater importance on cost-efficiency and eliminating waste, supported by simple customer-centric processes. The Department's financial management practice is to maintain a monthly four-year financial forecast, which enables timely action to manage cost pressures. Future initiatives will build on the success achieved with a range of current savings initiatives, including the Support Services Review and the Delivery Project. To date, these initiatives have saved the Department over $11 m per annum.

Initiatives to address cost pressures are included in Annex 2 of the DOC Four-year Plan, available on the DOC website.

DOC is contributing to Better Public Services results

To assist the Government's Better Public Service results, the Department is:

  • Working with businesses to achieve conservation gains in ways that deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to New Zealanders
  • Making changes to where the Department works and what it focuses on, to improve both efficiency and effectiveness of its work programmes
  • Emphasising partnerships, building relationships, sharing skills and knowledge, and involving others, including other public service agencies
  • Working with all NRS agencies to implement medium-term priorities agreed by Government for the sector, as set out in the Business Growth Agenda and reported through the Building Natural Resources progress reports.

Our focus areas for the next 4 years

The Department has developed an integrated monitoring and reporting framework for its outcome, five intermediate outcomes and stretch goals. The information derived from the framework will guide targets and the focus of effort in the future.

The Department measures its impact and that of its partners in each intermediate outcome area using three to four key indicators. Progress on these performance indicators is reported annually through DOC's Annual Report. The 2019 performance indicators (opposite) show the 2015 national performance indicator status and areas that DOC has prioritised for significant improvement over the next 4 years.


Performance improving. Performance improving

Performance maintained. Performance maintained

Performance declining. Performance declining

Performance measures to be developed. Performance measures yet to be developed

One or more of the conditions listed may apply. The results for some outcomes, notably natural heritage, reflect a composite of indicators and measures which may individually be improving or declining, and the performance rating is a generalisation.


Improving – Progress towards the outcome described is positive; overall conditions are improving; numbers are increasing; targets are being met or exceeded.

Maintained – The state of the outcome described is stable; overall conditions are neither improving nor declining; numbers are stable; if targets are being met, then the outcome is being achieved.

Declining – Progress towards the outcome described is negative; overall conditions are degrading; numbers are decreasing; targets are not being met.

Department of Conservation national performance indicators

Our overall outcome

Tracking trends in the benefits New Zealanders seek and receive from the natural, historic and cultural heritage managed by DOC

Performance maintained.

Tracking the relative value of conservation as an indicator of support for conservation

Performance maintained.

Natural heritage

Species occupancy – the species present are the ones you would expect naturally

Performance maintained.

Indigenous dominance – ecological processes are natural

Performance maintained.

Ecosystem representation – the full range of ecosystems is protected somewhere1

Performance declining.

Historic heritage

The condition of actively conserved historic places

Performance improving.

The trend in New Zealanders' awareness of the Department as a manager of historic places

Performance maintained.

The trend in visitor numbers at Historic Icon sites

Performance maintained.

The trend in visitor satisfaction with the quality of the experience provided at historic places

Performance maintained.


The trend over time in New Zealanders' awareness of DOC as a recreation provider

Performance declining.

The trend in participation in recreation on public conservation lands and waters

Performance improving.

The trend in visitor satisfaction with the quality of the experiences and opportunities provided

Performance maintained.


Change in the satisfaction of tangata whenua with the Department's activities to help them maintain their cultural relationships with taonga

Performance measures to be developed.

Change in the importance of conservation to New Zealanders

Performance maintained.

Change in the quality of the Department's engagement with key associates

Performance maintained.

Business partnerships

Increase in engagement of the commercial sector in conservation partnerships

Performance improving.

Change in the level of investment in conservation from the commercial sector

Performance improving.

Improvement in level of return on investment for key DOC products and services

Performance improving.

Organisational capability

Leadership: the Department has the leaders it needs to perform well now and in the future

Performance improving.

Relationships: the Department identifies, builds and manages relationships critical to achieving results

Performance improving.

Culture: the Department has the type of culture it needs to achieve results now and in the future

Performance maintained.

People: the Department has the skills and competencies to achieve its results in collaboration with others

Performance maintained.

Information and communications technology (ICT): the Department has the ICT it needs to achieve results and contribute to others

Performance maintained.

Asset management: the Department's asset-related decisions support current and future service delivery

Performance maintained.

Structure: the Department's structure is linked to its results and future business needs

Performance improving.

Intermediate outcome logic models

Natural heritage outcomes model

Natural heritage outcomes model.

Historic heritage outcomes model

Historic heritage outcomes model.

Recreation outcomes model

Recreation outcomes model

Engagement outcomes model

Engagement outcomes model

Business partnerships outcomes model


Helping protect our nature

There are hundreds of conservation groups working with DOC or working independently around the country, restoring forests, coasts and wildlife and managing huts, tracks and historic places.

Many of these groups have large-scale restoration and biodiversity recovery as their aims, while others focus on a particular endangered species. You can help through active participation or perhaps providing some administrative or financial help.

You can also volunteer for a DOC project, or assist DOC partnerships on endangered species management and other conservation projects.

DOC offers training courses to the public to encourage community participation in conservation. We share our skills and expertise to ensure consistent and high standards of conservation are maintained across New Zealand. Complete a free online course or attend a field-based course for face-to-face practical instruction.

DOC also provides teaching resources on conservation topics to use in the classroom or in locations around the country.

Get involved with an existing group or run your own project. See

Volunteers planting trees.
Volunteers at Bushy Point restoration planting project, Murihiku, Southland

1 This intermediate outcome is to be integrated into the ‘Connect and Contribute' outcome in 2015/16.

2 This stretch goal is located here as a placeholder while the intermediate outcome review progresses in 2015/16.

3 In addition to DOC, the agencies of the Natural Resources Sector are: the Ministry for the Environment (MfE); the Ministry for Primary Industries; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Land Information New Zealand; Te Puni Kōkiri; and the Department of Internal Affairs. For background and details of the NRS work programme, visit the MfE website at

4 This indicator is made up of terrestrial, freshwater and marine components. The terrestrial component has met its first milestone of more than 400 ecosystem management units under management. The marine and freshwater components will be progressed through the stretch goals established during the 2014/15 year.

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