Procurement process discriminates against local companies: NZ Rise

Wellington Council RFP for website upgrade could cost as much as $50,000 to respond to

A request for proposal issued by the Wellington City Council may have cost as much as $50,000 to respond to, says NZRise co-chair Donald Christie.

The council plans a major upgrade to its website and online services.

NZRise is a non-profit incorporated society formed by a group of New Zealand IT firm business leaders to ensure the global competitiveness of the New Zealand IT industry.

“We look at procurement, in particular how RFPs discriminate against New Zealand companies,” Christie says. “They can cost too much to respond to.”

He says the cost of responding to the council tender has been estimated at between $30,000 and $50,000. “These are only some of the estimates. You can’t have a conversation about what they really want.

“We’ve raised some of these issues with the council and will continue to do so.”

Christie says purchasers would get much better solutions if changes were made to the tendering process.

“We see [the current situation] this as a threat within government and with some corporates.”

NZRise represents New Zealand-owned and operated IT companies.

Wellington City Council says it received registrations of response from about 30 companies from around New Zealand and overseas. The tender closed on July 29.

“The council does not think there is anything particularly unusual about the RFP process it is running for this sizeable project,” a council spokesman says.

“The RFP relates to the initial stage of a programme of work to develop and future-proof the council’s online capability. This involves the redevelopment of the council website, and the building on an online building consent system with the capability to work in conjunction with the IT systems of other councils and organisations. This new architecture will be reused to deliver further online services so the council can transact more business online in the years to come.

“[The council] rejects any assertion that the process will cause undue expense for any tendering company.”

Project sponsor Wendy Walker says most serious tenderers will have invested time and effort into responding to the RFP.

“This is pretty standard stuff for any tendering process – where it involves the IT sector or not – and the level of response is a strong indication that many companies are interested enough in our business to make the effort.”

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