New Zealand may push buy-local IT rule

Stricter “buy New Zealand” conditions could be enforced following a review of government procurement policy.

The review, which is unlikely to be completed before next year, could require tenders over a certain value to be brought to the attention of local manufacturers through the Web site of the NZ Industrial Supplies Office (NZISO), a branch of the Ministry of Economic Development.

This follows protests earlier this year, and again last week, from the Computer Manufacturers’ Association of New Zealand (CMANZ) that government departments were neglecting the merit of New Zealand-made computer equipment.

Last week a press release from CMANZ member The PC Company complained that “government departments have been putting out tender documents specifying only the supply of multinational brand name PCs.

“We are seeing government contracts which actually name the multinational brands and this specifically excludes us,” the release said. When asked by Computerworld to supply details of the tender documents, The PC Company manager director Colin Brown declined, saying moves like the possibility of NZISO notification indicated the situation was now looking up.

CMANZ wrote to commerce minister Paul Swain in July asking that tenders for PC purchases valued at NZ$10,000 (US$4,010) or more be notified to the Industrial Supplies Office. Swain replied that the idea was under consideration.

However, NZISO spokeswoman Linda Archer suggests the threshold for posting tenders on the organization’s Web site is likely to be NZ$25,000, rather than the NZ$10,000 requested by CMANZ.

“Chances are there will be no (final) decision on it till into the New Year,” says Ministry of Economic Development spokesman Tony Cranston. Australian government departments have in the past been better at sending their tenders to NZISO than NZ departments have, Archer at NZISO says.