Kiwi techs make their point: panel tender aborted

New Zealand-owned technology companies are lauding a decision by the Department of Internal Affairs to cancel a tender for an IT professional services panel.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

NZRise, an IT industry group representing locally-owned technology companies, has succeeded in its campaign to have a controversial panel tender cancelled.

In December, the group wrote to Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) Minister Peter Dunne expressing their disappointment at the tender.

"This document has triggered significant alarm by NZRise members and others in our sector. In a number of key areas it cuts across the messaging and understanding that we thought we had built up in regular engagements with you and your officials over the last two years," the letter said.

"The document in both content and tone so starkly contradicts what you and your fellow Ministers have been telling the New Zealand digital sector that we feel compelled to register our strong sense of disappointment and urge you to ask your officials to reconsider both the approach and the way that it is communicated."

Yesterday it emerged the tender, for a new ICT professional services panel to replace one that expires in mid 2016, had been canned.

Don Christie, founder of Catalyst IT, tweeted the news:

Christie told ZDNet NZRise members expressed concern at the approach DIA were taking with the tender.

Those concerns included the fact it conflicted with what NZRise understood to be an intention by the Department, which leads procurement for the whole of NZ government, to move aways from panel procurement.

Other bugbears included onerous insurance requirements for tender respondents and attempts to control pricing.

NZRise has long complained the panel process effectively excludes smaller, locally-owned IT companies from winning significant amounts of government work at the expense of multinational providers.

"Today DIA cancelled the tender," Christie said. "Our understanding is they will now engage in a wide stakeholder consultation prior to deciding how to proceed. We very much welcome this move."

A Department spokesperson said following market feedback, it had decided to withdraw the tender and engage in further conversations with suppliers.

"We will then decide on next steps."

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