Government agencies will use their buying power to broaden job opportunities for a more diverse range of suppliers, employees and contractors, under a new rule coming into force tomorrow, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said today.
Mr Nash said the new government procurement rule will encourage public agencies to cast the net widely when awarding contracts.
“New procurement rule 18A aims to use government spending to support employment for displaced workers or groups with traditionally high rates of unemployment or low labour force participation,” he said.
“The rule is specifically aimed at creating employment opportunities for women, Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people and youth. It encourages suppliers to prioritise diversity and quality employment opportunities when they go for government contracts.
“Government agencies collectively spend $51.5 billion procuring goods and services each year and we will use that as a lever to support a wider range of jobs and businesses.”
The Minister said the new rule was also flexible enough to recognise that many small to medium enterprises may lack the scale to hold a direct contract with government agencies, but could still be part of the supply chain for another business.
“A good example is the Papatoetoe social enterprise company Will&Able. The company does not hold a primary contract with government but is in the supply chain for another business with a contract for all-of-government office supplies. It also supplies cleaning products to Auckland local government agencies.”
“Will&Able’s mission is to establish a business that is owned and operated by people with disabilities. For their employees it offers a way to develop more independence and financial freedom. The inclusion of companies like this will benefit us all.
“Using the collective spend by government agencies has the potential to drive real change. We want to create a fair environment for more businesses to win contracts, particularly those expected to be most affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“Government tenders issued from tomorrow will need to take account of the new rule, and agencies will monitor and report on their delivery,” the Minister said.
Link to new Rule and guidance https://www.procurement.govt.nz/broader-outcomes/improving-conditions-for-new-zealand-workers/