Local procurement policies like those being introduced in Australia will ensure New Zealand businesses secure a greater share of major projects, the Green Party said today.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced new laws on Sunday that will make all major project developers look to domestic suppliers first - a move that is worth A$1.6 billion per year in extra work to Australian companies.
"We can implement smart new procurement policies and standards like Australia's that will ensure New Zealand businesses get a fair chance at bidding for major new contracts," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
"A preference for New Zealand firms is good for the economy and good for creating jobs.
"The current lack of a procurement plan here means major new contracts are being won by overseas companies, when New Zealand companies can do the same, if not better job, while providing wider economic benefits to the economy.
"The National Government has failed to protect jobs here at home, wrongly arguing that free trade rules prevent us from implementing procurement policies that preference New Zealand companies.
"National have ignored the flow-on benefits of buying Kiwi made - benefits like increased tax revenue from wages and GST, the multiplier effect on job creation, and enhanced industry capability and skills development."
The Australian Jobs Act will give legislative requirements for the use of domestic suppliers and materials for the first time. Projects worth A$500 million or more will have to develop Australian industry participation plans that set out how the developer will give local suppliers a fair chance to win work. Projects worth more than A$2 billion will also have to set up an office of Australian industry capability in their procurement headquarters.
"Our manufacturing sector is in crisis, with 40,000 jobs having been lost in the last four years. Smart procurement policies, like Australia's, are needed to support the sector and vital role it plays in a resilient economy," Dr Norman said.
The Green Party has proposed new procurement policies in the ICT sector late last year and Government procurement principles in its Green Jobs package announced just before the last election.
Link to ICT procurement policies (p7):
Link to Green Jobs: