Corrections looks likely to fall well short of reaching its target to reduce re-offending by 25 percent by 2017.
But Corrections boss Ray Smith remains committed to getting there eventually.
For the year ended June 2015, re-offending reduced by 8.3 percent. That figure was 12.1 percent a year earlier.
"Whether we get there by 2017, or whether it takes a little bit longer, I think the key thing for me at this point is we never used to have this conversation," Mr Smith told parliament's law and order select committee today.
"What the target has done is driven a different conversation and response from Corrections."
Mr Smith admitted the department was disappointed there hadn't been a greater reduction.
"People had put huge effort into this," he said.
Meanwhile, Corrections Minister Judith Collins told reporters it is a tough target.
"But if anyone can, Corrections can," she said.
"The best way to meet a target is to have a very low target, but I think they're really determined to do their very best to do it."