Parker denies council awards 'jobs for boys'

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 09:21 14/09/2012
Bob Parker
FAIRFAX NZ
MORE THAN DISAPPOINTED: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says he is more than disappointed at the "very destructive game" he believes councillor Tim Carter is playing.
Tim Carter
COUNCILLOR: Tim Carter.

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Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has challenged suggestions that the city council has shown favouritism in awarding lucrative contracts.

During a debate on the council's new procurement policy yesterday, Parker challenged audit and risk subcommittee chairman Tim Carter to justify comments he made to The Press this week that the new policy was needed to bring an end to "jobs for the boys".

Parker said that as far he was aware, council staff acted in good faith in awarding contracts and to suggest otherwise cast aspersions on the council and its staff.

He challenged Carter to name contracts that had been won through cronyism.

Carter did not identify any contracts but said there was a public perception that the council's processes for awarding contracts were not always competitive.

"This [procurement policy] ensures there are no jobs for the boys. This is a great step forward," Carter said.

He earlier told councillors that it was "almost inconceivable" the council had not had a procurement policy before now as it was spending $700 million to $800m annually.

'We need some rules, some policies, about how we spend the money so we are held accountable," Carter said.

The fact that council staff would now be required to get verbal quotes for any purchase worth more than $1000 would drive competition among suppliers and ensure the council got value for money, he said.

Under the new policy, staff would have to obtain three verbal quotes for spending between $1000 and $10,000, and three written quotes for purchases between $5000 and $49,999 when there was no preferred supplier.

The council will retain its "active preference" for local suppliers' products.

The original draft of the policy said that although local suppliers should be included in invitations to tender, "council will buy from the best source available, according to its own judgment".

That was amended after criticism from the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

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- The Press

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