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How we measure our performance

Making a difference: our outcomes framework

The Commission seeks to influence two strategic outcomes: to lift New Zealand’s productivity and, as a result, lift the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Through our work, we:

  • explore the causes of New Zealand’s weak productivity performance;
  • identify the barriers to higher productivity and wellbeing; and
  • recommend policies to overcome those barriers.

In producing and publicising research and reports, we aim to inform the public and decision makers, promote debate, and encourage the adoption of policies and behaviours that contribute to lifting productivity and wellbeing. To do this effectively, we must be trusted and provide rigorous and workable advice.

Central to the Commission’s impact and influence is our public consultation and engagement. During each inquiry we engage with a large and diverse group of experts, interested parties, communities, and groups across Aotearoa New Zealand, to provide direct input on specific policy issues and to test ideas. Identifying areas in which policy settings can be improved to enhance productivity and wellbeing is at the heart of the Commission’s work. 

Our outcomes framework summarises how we expect to make a difference, along with the core capabilities and the reputation we wish to develop.

PC024 Annual Report 2021 22 ASSETS 3

Measuring progress

Measuring the Commission’s progress and impact is challenging. Productivity operates at many levels, with many influences, which may take place over long timeframes. It can be difficult to identify improvements to productivity or wellbeing that can be directly attributed to our work.

The inquiries we work on, the types of analysis we conduct, and the range of community and industry groups we engage with, change significantly from year to year. It is difficult to capture this diversity of work and effort in fixed quantitative targets, so the Commission takes a strong evaluative- based approach to measuring performance.

Once each inquiry is finished, an independent review is done. Every two years an independent review evaluates our economics and research work.

These evaluations use the same output measures to ensure comparability, while ensuring flexibility to incorporate other feedback.

Evaluating performance

The Commission is an independent research and advisory body with no operational ability to run or implement policies. The Government is under no obligation to implement our recommendations, nor to respond to our reports. We rely solely on our ability to skillfully communicate our ideas and our analysis to influence and shape policy.

Our evaluation methods

Independent expert review by someone with significant policy and/or productivity research experience, who is familiar with our role and functions.

Survey of external participants using a set of questions covering multiple aspects of our work, such as the quality of our analysis and clarity of our communication.

Stakeholder focus group(s) of about 6–10 attendees from different backgrounds, independently facilitated and without Commission attendance.

Monitoring external feedback and internal workflow processes to capture, share and evaluate feedback received and external responses to our work (in the media, Parliament etc). 

[Note: all performance evaluations are published on our website.]


Our output measures

Intended impacts – what happens because of our work

Right focus – the relevance and materiality of our inquiry and research reports

Good process management – the timeliness and quality of our work

High-quality work – the quality of our analysis and recommendations

Effective engagement – quality of engagement with interested parties

Clear delivery of message – how well our work is communicated and presented

Overall quality – the overall quality of the work considering all factors


This influence may be direct and immediate (e.g. through academic, community, public and political recommendation) or over a longer period, after policies are adjusted or adopted.

We do not just produce reports. Analysis and commentary in our reports is disseminated, understood, and used to influence policy and behaviour so that New Zealand improves productivity in the long term.

Achieving policy impact and progress on New Zealand’s productivity and wellbeing performance may only emerge over time. To report on our strategic outcomes, we therefore focus on what analysis and advice we undertook that contributed to increasing the understanding of New Zealand’s productivity challenges.

PC024 Annual Report 2021 22 ASSETS 4

Our approach to performance measurement

Our approach to performance measurement can be summarised as follows:

Work programme

Inquiries into and research on, and promoting understanding of, productivity- related matters. Assessed via:

•   Expert review

•   Survey

•   Focus group

•   Monitoring


Output measures
Right focus
Good process management
High-quality work
Effective engagement
Clear delivery of message
Overall quality


Impact indicators
Policies and behaviours change as a result of the Commission’s work​
Generating discussion and debate
Levels of engagement and response


Outcomes sought
Lift the wellbeing of New Zealand
Lift New Zealand’s productivity