Further Mfat uncontested contracts revealed

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 08:07 03/08/2012

Related Links

More MFAT anxiety over amended reforms Enforcer to probe MFAT leaks MFAT job cuts slashed MFat job cuts 'caused irreparable damage' MFat cost-cutting plan in a shambles Big contracts go to former Mfat staff

Relevant offers

Politics

Bloggers targeted business journalist Collins, SIS claims to be investigated by panels SFO's Adam Feeley confident truth will come out Labour invests in Christchurch transport Bradford shooting tweet sparks backlash If you were the Prime Minister.... Parties differ markedly on economic policy Norman makes a point with paddle Beehive Live: 'Not a witch hunt' Live Chat: Labour's David Parker

A change management company was awarded foreign affairs contracts worth almost $600,000 without any competitive tender.

The news comes after revelations former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staffers were being awarded tens of thousands of dollars in uncontested contracts.

In 2010, management consultants Harrington and Allen Associates was paid $291,492 to assist the ministry with project organisational development and human resources.

The contract was exempted from tender because of urgency, Mfat records show.

Then late last year, the company was awarded $251,100 to conduct cost/benefit analysis of procurement options.

This time the contract was not put out to competitive tender because the company had worked for the ministry previously.

Green Party MP Kennedy Graham questioned why a company would receive the contracts without a transparent tender process taking place.

''Has the Minister's recent cutback meant that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade no longer has officials able to provide advice on diplomatic matters, given it is paying external contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars for advice on diplomacy?''

Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Groser said the Government would not end the use of uncontested contracts by Mfat because it would be ''extremely inefficient to do so''.

''It is a longstanding matter for the public service across many agencies to have uncontested contracts, particularly for contracts of $50,000 or less, so that it is not a complete bar to considering proposals above that figure.''

In the 2011/12 financial year, Mfat engaged 49 consultants through non-contested processes for a total cost of $2.98 million.

The previous year say 82 consultants at a cost of $5.06m.

NZ First MP Andrew Williams called for an end to uncontested contracts at the ministry.

''On the grounds that they are inconsistent with open, transparent, and merit-based contracting in the public sector.''

Public Service Association National Secretary Brenda Pilott said the consultant spending sent mixed messages to Mfat staff.

''This makes an absolute mockery of the government's austerity and efficiency drive and sends a very poor message to the entire public service.''

Particularly, she said, for Mfat staff who were going through an uncertain change period and job losses.

Ad Feedback

''The irony is that the Ministry now has to contract that expertise back and at a much higher price. It's a salutary lesson on what happens when you shed experienced people without thinking about the longer term implications.''

Related stories:

Big contracts go to former Mfat staff

Stressed Mfat staff told to 'get a pet'

Exodus threat over Mfat cuts

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content