16 Sep 2020

Government alters procurement rules to benefit disadvantaged groups

8:31 am on 16 September 2020

The government is to use its spending power to ensure traditionally disadvantaged groups displaced by Covid -19 get jobs

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Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

It's altering the rules around its $42b spend on goods and services.

Now, 138 departments and agencies must actively consider how they can create quality jobs with an emphasis on getting groups such as Māori and Pacific people, people with disabilities and women.

There'll also be a greater focus on sustainable construction practices.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford told Morning Report "there's real potential to do good".

He says the agencies and departments need to do the work right at the beginning of the procurement process so it's not simply ticking a box at the end.

"It's not a micromanagement approach where central government, one team of people at MBIE, are determining the very detail of every tendering process..."

Success will be measured through the gathering of data, he said.

"We know Māori businesses and workers, particularly Māori women in the hospitality and tourism sectors, have been hit hard by the impacts of Covid-19," Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

"Government procurement of goods and services offers the economic stimulus to boost Māori SMEs and help create a resilient Māori economy."

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio says the Pacific Business Procurement Support initiative is helping Pacific companies build their capability so they can survive the immediate impacts of Covid-19 and over time grow their companies.

The government is partnering with the Pacific Business Trust to boost Pacific procurement, he said.