Most contracts awarded locally

Just three of 47 New Plymouth District Council contracts worth more than $100,000 have gone to firms outside of Taranaki in the last 10 months.

Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow revealed the figures last night after a Grey Power policy committee deputation asked that local firms get special treatment for council contracts.

The group's call follows weeks of controversy at a council decision to award a Wellington company the contract to install the Festival of the Lights despite a New Plymouth company holding the contract for nine years and having a tender $26,100 cheaper.

"Of the 47 contracts let over the last 10 months only three were not to local firms.

"$41 million of $42m was let to local firms," Mrs McKerrow said.

Regardless of the numbers, the council has committed to reviewing its procurement policy in the wake of the Festival of the Lights brouhaha and a report on the options should be available to councillors early next year.

South Taranaki and Stratford already operate a form of local favouritism, but Christchurch City Council recently dropped a similar policy after it led to higher contract prices.

Policy committee chairwoman Heather Dodunski promised Grey Power and other parties, such as the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, would be consulted for the procurement policy report.

Grey Power president Hugh Johnson said the council had done as much as could be expected to address their concerns.

"We look forward to getting this report. Then we will pull it to bits," he said.

Taranaki Daily News