I love Mondays, and Mondays in Murihiku, what a great way to start to the week. Some people might screw their nose up about Mondays, but to me they represent promise of time to meet, to think and to get things done. As I made my way back to Ōtautahi from Murihiku on Monday, it wasn’t the famed southern hospitality and getting things done on my mind; it was procurement.
You might have heard of ‘progressive procurement’, which was introduced as a government policy in 2020 to increase the diversity of government suppliers of goods and services, starting with Māori.
On Monday, while in Invercargill, I attended an event for Māori businesses organised by Te Puni Kōkiri, which is tasked with delivering Te Kaitaonga Haere, the Government’s Progressive Procurement Policy, along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
I applaud Te Puni Kōkiri for doing more to make our Māori businesses aware of this kaupapa, it was a really successful event.
There is also a suite of active support for Māori businesses to get ready for government procurement opportunities.
But back to the policy, which sets an initial target of 5% of all government contracts to be awarded to Māori business. What is progressive about 5%?
When you consider that almost 150 government agencies spend more than $51.5 billion on goods and services each year, 5% is a drop in the ocean. Māori business are not merely under-represented in the total government spend; they are severely under-represented. That the 5% target was exceeded in the first full year of reporting following the introduction of the policy (it reached 6%) demonstrates there is scope there to set a target that spurs a faster rate of change.
If you own or run a Māori business, I urge you to find out more about this policy. For general information, have a look here and to see what procurement opportunities are available, go to the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS).