Salvation Army say they tendered for gambling contract

Green MP Denise Roche claimed that the Salvation Army was awarded the problem gambling contract without tendering for it, but the Salvation  Army says this is wrong.

Oddly there isn’t any press release on this on the Green website, but this is at Scoop:

Problem gambling decision raises serious questions

Revelations that the Salvation Army was awarded Problem Gambling’s contract without seeking it raise serious questions about how that decision was made, the Green Party said today.

“The fact the Salvation Army said it did not tender for the contract to supply problem gambling services, yet was awarded it, adds weight to the allegation that the Problem Gambling Foundation were being punished for its opposition to the SkyCity deal,” said Green Party gambling spokesperson Denise Roche.

“Problem gambling is a serious problem in New Zealand and those fighting to deal with the problem should not be punished for doing their job.

“I think the Government and Health Ministry have serious questions to answer about how this contract was awarded.

“Have their been any other occasions when an organisation that did not even tender for a Government contract got it? It is a highly unusual situation.

“This decision needs to be revisited. New Zealanders will not accept this treatment of an advocate fighting to make life better for people.”

It seemed odd to be awarded a contract you hadn’t tendered for.

NZ Doctor have done some checking.

We tendered, says Salvation Army

But the head of the Salvation Army’s Addiction Services, Captain Gerry Walker, says this is wrong.

“We tendered for it,” he told New Zealand Doctor, “We tendered for what we believed we had the capacity and capability to deliver.”

Captain Walker says he does not know where the idea the Salvation Army was surprised to receive the contract had come from and that it had not described itself as the “national provider”.

“There is no surprise. We have been waiting to hear what we will be contracted to provide.”

I think there’s valid questions to be asked about the tender and how the service can best be provided but making this a highly politicised issue and making what appear to be incorrect claims is diverting from what should be examined.

“The biggest transformation to the public service in a generation”

An ODT editorial Changes to the ‘engine room’ highlights the progress of a quiet piece of transformational legislation.

The passing of the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill, now set to become law, was described by State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman as ”the biggest transformation to the public service in a generation” and according to its introduction aims to ”establish a framework to support and encourage innovative, flexible, efficient state services”.

The Bill states the changes ”are designed to strengthen collaboration throughout the state sector system, to improve financial flexibility, and to provide more meaningful performance information for scrutiny by Parliament.”

The legislation is comprehensive, amending the State Sector, Public Finance and Crown Entities Acts – the three principal statutes governing the management of the state sector and public finances in New Zealand.

The legislation with a few amendments has been supported by the Labour Party, which partly explains the lack of attention the bill has received.

Link to details, debate speeches and Supplementary Order Papers : State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill

Second Reading

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (Minister of State Services) : 

I am very pleased that this important reform has bipartisan support. That is important because this legislation determines the workings and architecture of the State sector, and its ramifications will be felt for years to come.

The State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill is an omnibus bill, and the intention is that during the Committee of the whole House it be divided into three separate bills: a State Sector Amendment Bill, a Public Finance Amendment Bill, and a Crown Entities Amendment Bill. The changes are designed to enable the delivery of Better Public Services and more effective and efficient achievement of results.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) :

May I offer perhaps rare congratulations to the Minister of State Services on several points. The first is that by being willing to embrace changes from the Finance and Expenditure Committee I believe that the Minister and the chair of the committee, Todd McClay—now the Hon Todd McClay—have assisted Parliament to get to the point where we have a piece of legislation, the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill, that is workable and does make useful amendments to our structure of Government, and the Labour Opposition will now be able to support this bill.

DENISE ROCHE (Green) :

There are some parts of the bill that we think are very good.

On balance, we believe that this bill leaves workers worse off. I will be introducing a Supplementary Order Paper, which I hope will be supported, about reintroducing relocation protection, but in the meantime we will not be supporting this bill.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) :

Here is 176 pages of technocratic jargon and bureaucratic speak, with a few legalistic niceties thrown in for good measure…heard this sort of mumbo-jumbo before.

There is nothing in this State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill that would deliver any tangible benefit to the Kiwi mums and dads whom National claims to represent.

Peters went on to criticise many aspects of the bill.

  • The question was put that the amendments recommended by the Finance and Expenditure Committee by majority be agreed to.
A party vote was called for on the question, That the question be agreed to.
Ayes 95 New Zealand National 59; New Zealand Labour 33; ACT New Zealand 1; Independents: Dunne, Horan.
Noes 25 Green Party 14; New Zealand First 7; Māori Party 3; Mana 1.
Question agreed to.

The ODT summarises and concludes:

The main changes in the state sector legislation include financial flexibility; giving the State Services Commissioner greater responsibility over chief executives and senior leaders; giving chief executives greater powers to delegate functions, including to non-government organisations, and the responsibility for considering collective interests of government and longer-term sustainability; and the option of setting up an operational ”departmental agency”, within a department to carry out a specific service.

The main concerns held by opposition parties relate to chief executives delegating responsibility for services to those outside the public service as they fear it will erode accountability. Opposition parties and the Public Service Association are also not comfortable with changes – although amended – relating to state servants’ contracts.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has been tasked with implementing the changes. It will be a balancing act. There are some who perceive the state sector as being needlessly bureaucratic. Others are concerned the Government’s push for better services has seen important positions axed, experienced staff lost and funding reduced in vital areas. But if tough times call for tough action, it is reassuring the changes have passed with overwhelming approval.