The New Zealand Labour opposition has released a plan to revamp government procurement if it takes power in the next election, just days after Software Queensland called for similar changes locally.
New Zealand Labour leader Phil Goff announced the policy yesterday in Dunedin, saying that his party's proposed procurement rules would see government take into consideration the effects of tender selection on the local economy and not just the government's bottom line.
"We must own our own future by keeping Kiwis in work instead of favouring offshore firms," Goff said.
"The benefits of keeping New Zealanders in work include the fact they pay income tax, GST, contribute to our skill base and the community as a whole. It shouldn't just be about looking at the bottom line."
The NZ Opposition labelled the current government tendering process as complex and costly, and is angling to conduct a review into it if the party comes to power, looking at procurement for everything from ICT software and hardware through to transportation and labour contracts.
"Labour will review the existing components of government procurement to ensure they are fit for purpose, accessible and practicable. We will ensure they operate equitably with respect to access for Kiwi firms, in line with Australian federal and state contracts," New Zealand Labour said in policy documents.
Policy documents also show that if the party comes to power, it will require companies tendering for contracts over NZ$50 million to provide an action plan for how local companies can play a role in delivery of the services called an Industry Participation Plan (IPP), which will be looked over by a group of private sector individuals.
"All IPPs must be approved by a newly established Industry Participation Group (IPG), which will be comprised of mostly private sector individuals. The IPG may also offer advice to parties in respect of any complaints and may also advise the Minister of Economic Development on any aspect of policy or implementation as they see fit," policy documents show.
New Zealand Labour's procurement overhaul are similar to recommendations from a 2010 report by the Australian Innovation Review Steering Committee, which suggested that local businesses should get the benefits of large tendering operations.
Calls by New Zealand Labour for an overhaul of the tendering process also echo statements made locally by Software Queensland head John Vickers, who said this week that the tendering program in the sunshine state wasn't fostering growth in the state's IT industry.
Vickers said that the state's ICT procurement policy should look at more than just a bottom line approach to government procurement and should instead focus on how the contract will deliver value back to the local sector.
"It is about 'we', not 'them and us'. We need to behave differently to once again become the Smart State and grow our ICT industry," Vickers said this week.
The New Zealand general election is set to be held in November.