This page explains the initial concept and the adjustments that have been made as this project has progressed and faced various challenges. Adjustments to the methodology have been recorded as Annexes.

A government department strategy (‘GDS’) is defined in the 2015 methodology:


Following this definition, the Institute does not consider other corporate and strategic documents (such as annual reports or four-year plans) GDSs (see Figure 1). However these other (corporate) documents should complement their department’s strategies. Ideally they should also cite their respective operational GDSs as this will support integrated thinking. This important ‘integration’ element is assessed by the GDS scorecard as part of the ‘Alignment and Authority’ element.

Figure 1: Government Strategy Wheel20161006-gds-wheel

To date the methodology has been applied twice: firstly for GDSs in operation as at 30 June 2014, and secondly for GDSs in operation as at 30 June 2015.

On this page:

Methodology – February 2015GDS INDex 2015 methodology

Working Paper 2015/04: Methodology for the Government Department Strategies Index New Zealand  (PDF, 676KB).

This methodology also applies to the subsequent GDS Index NZ updates.


Annex 1 – 30 March 2015
The National Civil Defence and Emergency Management Strategy 2008 was initially under the responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs. However, on 1 April 2014 it was transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This means if we were to undertake the Index analysis again, the sector averages would be different, as this change resulted in the GDS moving from the Māori, Other Populations & Cultural Sector to the Finance and Government Administration Sector. This also means that the department averages would be different, as this change resulted in the GDS moving from DIA to DPMC.

Annex 2 – 30 March 2015

The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS) is a new addition to the list. In our opinion it does meet the definition of a GDS in operation as at 30 June 2014. The reasons why it was missed is possibly due to DOC (as part of their OIA response in June 2014) considering it was a government strategy (rather than a department strategy) and the title not containing the terms ‘strategy’ or ‘plan’. In retrospect, after further discussion with DOC staff, we consider the policy statement is a strategy and therefore should be included in the profiles list so that it can be easily identified. However, it has not been analysed, scored or ranked against the other GDSs. By including the GDS in the profile list, we have ensured that it will be included in future indexes. This means if we were to undertake the research again, there would be 137 GDSs (not 136).

Annex 3 – 30 March 2015

The Institute has developed the concept of a strategy wheel in order to clearly show the relationships between strategic instruments and the institutions implementing them. The wheel shows how within the public policy system there are three components which work together – institutions, instruments, and information systems. Learn more about these on the strategy wheels page.

Annex 4 – 3 November 2015

Departments responded faster to our OIA request this time around, possibly because they only needed to review what had been published in the last twelve months. However, there were still a few departments that were slow to respond and a few cases where we made further changes after receiving the OIA response. The reasoning is explained below:

  1. Community in Mind, Hei Puāwai Waitaha – a flourishing Waitaha: Strategy for rebuilding health and wellbeing in greater Christchurch (CERA)

CERA did not include this strategy in their OIA response; however, we have chosen to include this strategy because it meets our definition of a GDS. It is also mentioned throughout CERA’s 2014 Statement of Intent and the CERA’s 2014 Annual Report which we interpreted as further reason to include the strategy.

  1. Tertiary Education Strategy 2014–2019 (MoE)

This strategy was included in MBIE’s OIA response, but we have not included it as an MBIE strategy because this GDS already featured in the GDS Index NZ under the responsibility of MoE. Where two departments share a strategy, the first one listed after ‘published by’ on the strategy document is the department that we assume has overarching responsibility. Going forward we will also mark these ‘shared strategies’ in the Index.

  1. Strategy to 2040: He kai kei aku ringa: The Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership (MBIE)

This strategy was included in the Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri)’s OIA response, but we have not included it as a Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri) strategy as this GDS already featured in the GDS Index NZ under the responsibility of MBIE. This strategy is led by the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board which is ‘responsible for on-going stewardship, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of this strategy’. However on their website MBIE state they are the responsible government department for this strategy.

  1. The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS)

In Annex 2 of the GDS Index NZ (above) we stated that we would include this strategy in our update of The Index. However, as we scored this policy statement it was decided that we would not include it in our analysis as  it would be so disadvantaged in the ranking system – it did not need to explain ‘why’ only ‘how’ under law. Policy statements are required under the Resource Management Act 1991 to adhere to a particular form and therefore they do not need the elements that other GDSs do.

Other decisions made that may be of interest include:

  • Continued inclusion of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority as a government department.

In Section 27 of the State Sector Act 1988 states: ‘The Public Service comprises departments (and any departmental agencies that are part of those departments)’. A list of the organisations that make up the public service are contained in Schedule 1 and 1A of the Act. Schedule 1 lists 28 organisations. Schedule 1A contains the newly established Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority as a departmental agency. As at 1 July 2015, Schedule 1 lists 28 departments and Schedule 1A lists one department agency. Together these make up the 29 organisations that are the public service and are therefore the focus of the Institute’s work on government department strategies. To learn more about where the public service sits within the context of central government agencies, in this July 2015 Guide.

  • Use of government department’s titles

For consistency we have used the names of government departments as they appear in Schedule 1 and 1A of the State Sector Act 1988. Of concern was the absence of a macron in the title for the Ministry of Maori development and also that Te Puni Kōkiri was not recognised as part of this department’s name in the Act. We believe the legal titles should be updated to reflect the current titles in use by departments (or the current titles in use reflect what is in law). Our preference is naturally to embrace the Māori language.