Visitor guide printing move 'a disgrace'
Venture Southland is defending its decision to award a tender to print a visitor guide to Dunedin-based company AtoZ Publishing.
Invercargill-based Market South, which started and owned the previous Southland and Fiordland visitor guide publication endorsed by Venture Southland, did not officially tender but gave notice it would continue producing the publication.
Market South owner Carla Forbes said that by making a tender her company would essentially be giving away one of the tourism publications it developed.
Venture Southland appeared to be wanting to go in a new direction with its promotion of the region and it was entitled to do that, Ms Forbes said.
However, Venture Southland was moving back to the directory-style publication that was replaced eight years ago, she said.
The decision by Venture Southland to award the contract to a company outside of Southland has drawn strong criticism from some quarters.
Anne-Maree Thomas, who runs her own advertising business in Invercargill and was part of a joint team who put in a tender, said she was not upset about missing out, but that with so many good Southland companies the decision by Venture Southland to take business away from the region was a "bloody disgrace".
"The whole reason Venture Southland are there is to attract, expand and keep businesses in Southland," she said.
Venture Southland regional tourism manager Meryl Jupp said AtoZ was an established visitor information publisher with strong existing relationships in Otago, Southland and Fiordland.
At a Venture Southland joint committee meeting on Monday, Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt questioned the wisdom of always awarding a tender to the lowest bidder.
Stadium Southland and the Invercargill City Council's new French-owned water and drainage contractor, Veolia Water New Zealand, were examples in which a strategic view might have been just as important as a cost benefit analysis for a tender, Mr Shadbolt said.
"Cost effectiveness is not the only way to measure a tender," he said. "Local knowledge is important. A business from outside means there could be a potential for a loss of local knowledge."
Venture Southland Joint Committee chairman Wayne Harpur told the joint committee hearing the tender process was not just a cost-driven one and, unfortunately, there were always going to be disappointed tenderers.
Eleven tenders were received with five shortlisted before a a final decision was made.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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