Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Setting Outcomes and Measuring Performance of Regional Council Pest and Weed Management Programmes

Possum in undergrowth

Possum in undergrowth

Biosecurity and pest management in New Zealand are carried out by a range of national, regional and local agencies to reduce the economic damage due to pests, risks to human health, and the impacts of pests on environmental, primarily biodiversity, values. Individual organisations responsible for managing pests in New Zealand, including the regional councils, have acknowledged the need for evidence-based reporting of the outcomes and benefits of these management activities.

The Local Government Act 2002 obliges territorial authorities to identify, monitor and report on progress towards community outcomes and to describe through their long-term community plans how their own activities will contribute to these outcomes. Audits by the  Office of the Auditor General (2008) noted ‘weaknesses’ in the community plans related to: “a lack of a logical flow in performance reporting; levels of service, and performance measures and targets; and outcomes monitoring.” This is particularly so in pest management, where regional council (Clayton and Cowan 2009) and MAFBNZ (Jones 2008, 2009) reviews of the current state of performance measurement and the extent of outcomes measurement and reporting concluded that there was significant need to improve:

  • the definition and monitoring of programme outcomes and the alignment of their associated measurement, methodology and design with best practice;
  • consistency in methods and standards of outcomes monitoring reporting;
  • consistency in terminology and processes for defining outcomes across and within agencies.

Addressing these issues would enable councils, on ratepayers’ behalf, to make more explicit, and demonstrate and communicate more effectively, the links between pest management programme components, and the contribution those programme’s outputs make to the agreed broad scale community outcomes.

Regional councils have begun this process by engaging with Landcare Research to develop tools and templates that would help them adopt an outcome-based approach using the framework provided by intervention logic models. This approach will allow councils to ensure pest management programmes are achieving their goals most cost effectively; report performance clearly to internal and external stakeholders, and; contribute to and align with the MAFBNZ-led National Pest Management Framework.
This project was funded by Envirolink, a regional council driven funding scheme, administered by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (

Core resources

Setting and measuring biosecurity outcomes

This guidance document was developed to provide regional council biosecurity managers and staff, and colleagues from other departments, with the capability to set measurable outcomes for biosecurity programmes and to identify the best indicators with which to measure progress towards those outcomes. Although aimed at this group of users, the principles and processes it describes can be used to measure performance in any management programme.

Workshop presentation

This is a generic version of the presentation used in the training workshops. Councils are welcome to use it as a reference or for their own training purposes

Logic model sheets

Printable version of the blank template used in the training workshops to develop draft logic models for management programmes. It can be written on directly or, better still, used with “sticky notes” on which activities, outputs and outcome statements can be written and moved around to develop the logical flow of the programme steps.

Advice on using these principles in reviews of regional pest management strategies.

This report was written to provide advice on aligning outcomes-based methods with the guidelines for RPMS review developed by the Biosecurity Generic Guidelines Group.

International examples of guidance documents for setting and measuring outcomes in natural systems

The Australian Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) toolkit

The MERI toolkit contains the ‘how to’ information needed to use MERI throughout the life of a Caring for our Country funded project. The MERI toolkit provides steps to guide you in developing a MERI plan and a program logic, the MERI plan template and examples of project MERI plans. Frequently asked questions also address MERI issues.

Heinz Center (USA) report

A very useful report from the Heinz Center (USA)

National context for outcomes-based measurement in biosecurity

“Think-piece” reports on the current state of pest management in New Zealand

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand proposed national plan of action

The purpose of this proposed plan of action is to make it easier for everyone involved in pest management in New Zealand to act collectively in New Zealand’s best interests.

Reviews of council monitoring



DoView is the software used for drawing the examples of logic models in the resource. It is a visual outcomes processor - which you use to visualize your high-level outcomes, to show you the steps you need to achieve them, work out if you're on track and quickly communicate this to other parties.