01 November 2007 | Paul Snell
New Zealand's National Party has set up a website to canvass opinion about the government's procurement policy.
The opposition party has developed the Open Tender site ( " title="Opens a new window">www.opentender.co.nz 9 0 /edit/images/new_window_icon.gif 14 12 Opens a new window 0 false false false false
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Richard Worth MP, the party's economic development spokesman, said: "We have heard both positive and negative comments about the procurement process. The Open Tender website will help us to gather direct feedback from business about what is happening with millions of dollars of government contracts."
It will look at five areas of government procurement policy, including transparency about who wins contracts, its values and why suppliers win deals. It will also ask if public buying is too inflexible compared with the private sector; if the process is too expensive for local firms to compete with large multi-nationals; if the government prefers to have contracts with large firms instead of small businesses; and if it is reluctant to tender, relying instead on preferred suppliers.
"The purpose of the website is to check the validity of these criticisms and, if they are true, collect practical suggestions about how procurement policies can be revised to make them open, fair and transparent," said Worth.
The party said it was keen to engage with firms to explore complaints that current policy "significantly disadvantages" smaller New Zealand-based firms. Responses will inform its policy on economic development.