Labour will use the government’s $40 billion in buying power to create jobs and back local businesses by requiring suppliers to make job creation in New Zealand a determining factor for contracts, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.
"Since I became Opposition Leader I have said that backing business to create good jobs will be my absolute priority. Over the next year I will set out a series of policies to boost job creation in New Zealand. The first thing I will do is make sure the government’s buying power does just that.
"We need to back our local businesses to develop skills and innovations to successfully win tenders and create good jobs here in New Zealand. For many small businesses the lack of government contracting experience is a hindrance when they try to break in to international markets.
"This plan creates opportunities for local companies to grow and compete on the international stage. It’s a win-win for all.
"There have been too many jobs lost because of government organisations buying ‘cheap’ options from overseas.
"Think of the loss of Dunedin’s Hillside rail wagon manufacturing and $1.5 billion spent on the new IRD computer system, all of which could have generated skilled work opportunities in New Zealand.
"Labour’s ‘Our work our future’ policy will keep more of that money and work in New Zealand, and deliver better results by changing the Government Procurement Rules to make job creation and the overall benefit to New Zealand a determining factor in their decision making.
"Government contracts often have very tight criteria that shuts out New Zealand companies and prevents them from developing innovative bids in conjunction with local and overseas consortia. It’s time to level the playing field.
"Labour will require Government organisations to design contracts so that companies focused on job creation have a fair chance of winning them, and then oblige them to report on the value of contracts they have awarded based on this criteria.
"It’s time to put Kiwi jobs and businesses first," Andrew Little says.