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NZ Government is consulting on Procurement

Victoria MacLennan. 20 April 2023, 10:55 pm

As co-Chair of NZRise I spent 7 years focused on advocacy to reform the New Zealand government procurement system - our quest was to create a level playing field and provide opportunities for New Zealand owned companies. My living and breathing of this topic extended to a joke that if I ever went on Mastermind NZ Government procurement would be my specialty topic. 

In that 7 years we saw evidence of some change. DIA implemented their ICT marketplace after a long 5 year project which was fraught with issues but to be fair to them is now operating effectively with agencies choosing to transact via the marketplace as an alternative to going to market (not perfect but working well). 

We also saw the introduction of broader outcomes Rule 16 introduced into the Government Procurement Rules which includes statements that should be making a difference like:

  • increase New Zealand businesses’ access to government procurement: increasing the number of New Zealand businesses contracting directly to government, and within the supply chain. This includes Māori businesses and Pasifika businesses

Without any transparency of reporting other improvements are more nuanced and based on how the behaviours the NZ owned sector are observing like - less use of closed panels, less use of GETS (which is good and bad). However with announcements coming thick and fast on broad all encompassing MOU’s and agreements with the largest companies in the world, some NZ owned businesses are still feeling very marginalised and frustrated that the government isn’t supporting growth of our NZ grown products and services. 

Upshot today is the playing field still isn’t level so it’s great to see initiatives like Procurement for the Future emerging out of MBIE. 

What’s happening now in 2023? - Procurement for the Future

“Our vision is for New Zealand’s government procurement to be fair, transparent, inclusive, and efficient, so that it delivers more value to New Zealanders and responds to changing government priorities.”  Quote from Discussion Document: Proposed Sector Leadership Model for Government Procurement. 

ICT procurement is within the scope of a body of work Government are undertaking to develop a sector leadership framework which will guide improvements within the system in the name of the vision quoted above. 

Consultation document - open until 5th of May individuals and organisations can input via a consultation document process
The submission form is a 9 question word doc you download and email back to MBIE. It asks broadly about the proposed model and structure at a high level but does not get into industry specific detail at this stage. 

CoLab workshops - also taking place in May are 2 x co-Lab workshops focused on strategic supplier and supply chain management strategies. I received my first invitation to these after the RSVP date had closed but it does still look like the registration page is open today.

Why should we care about this? 

Government investment as a buyer helps to create jobs and growth. The current procurement system disadvantages small businesses, Māori and Pacifica owned businesses, are expensive to participate in and are risk adverse by design.

The NZ Government spend as much as $2.6Billion per annum on Information Communications and Technology products and services. Ensuring there is a fair system in place so that any capable organisation whether domestic or internationally owned has an opportunity to be considered without discrimination due to their size and ownership structure is important for a number of reasons.

Our largest digital technology company Datacom grew and developed in their early years off the back of their place as a supplier to the New Zealand government, the same can be said for many other successful businesses who are now exporting offshore and growing their overall contribution to the economy.

We should all care about changing the game to make it fair, transparent and inclusive. 


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