Government departments tendering for supplies must post the tender on the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) website if its value exceeds $50,000.
That rule, in place from July 1, was introduced by Commerce Minister Paul Swain in response to concern from the Computer Manufacturers’ Association of New Zealand (CMANZ) that local computer makers were being excluded from the tendering process.
Last year CMANZ asked Swain to set a $10,000 minimum requirement for GETS posting, but the minister set the level at $50,000 because compliance costs would be too high for tenders under that amount, says CMANZ chairman Mike Cooch. “In a letter to me last month, Swain said the limit was raised because of departments’ concerns about compliance costs and that’s pretty fair.”
Cooch says the move is a step in the right direction but wonders how it will be enforced. “In the letter, he says he’ll be writing to departmental chief executives to draw their attention to the decision, but if they don’t follow the decision, what will the penalty be?”
He says the association will be talking with the minister about cases where departments buying hardware have bypassed the tender process and simply named an overseas supplier. Such moves are in contravention of government procurement policy, which is based on the principle of best value for money through open and effective competition, including full and fair opportunity for New Zealand and Australian suppliers to compete. Cooch declined to name the departments he claims were involved.