Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach

The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.

“The $6m contract for the Saudi sheep farm was awarded to Brownrigg Agriculture – long-time business associates and now partners of the Saudi businessman Hmood Al-Khalaf. This is separate to the $4 million cash payment to the Al Khalaf Group.

“During the contracting process Brownrigg Agriculture was paid to provide advice on the so-called business case and was paid by MFAT to travel to Saudi Arabia as part of a team to develop it. The planned second phase of the competitive contracting process was then cancelled and Brownrigg Agriculture was awarded the contract.

“This directly contravenes Rule 21 of the Government Rules of Sourcing that states: ‘an agency should not purchase procurement advice from a supplier that has a commercial interest in the contract opportunity, because to do so would prejudice fair competition’.

“That is yet more serious wrong doing by Mr McCully.  Cabinet’s explicit requirement for ‘strict conformity with government procurement rules’ was ignored. 

“It’s just like the tender process for the SkyCity convention centre which the Auditor General heavily criticised as favouring SkyCity over other bidders.

“National runs roughshod over good government to get its dodgy deals done and is undermining our international reputation for fair dealing,” says David Parker.