Kiwirail electrification contract awarded to overseas companies

A $371 million contract for the Papakura to Pukekohe rail electrification has apparently been awarded to overseas companies from China and South Africa. Apparently cost was the deciding factor.

Winston Peters, Minister for State Owned Enterprises:

“KiwiRail cannot be influenced by ministers in their tender process, and must follow government procurement rules, which at this time do not allow them to discriminate against foreign-owned companies.”

Obviously government procurement rules have to be followed, but this is a bit awkward for Peters who has promoted New Zealand business.

Neither Labour nor NZ First have done anything effective to change the rules.

And now the Government is currently trying to promote local business to aid recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19.

NZ Herald: NZ firms Fletchers and Downer ‘fuming’ as $371m Govt KiwiRail contract goes overseas

Construction companies Fletcher and Downer are reportedly “fuming” after a $371 million Government rail contract has been awarded to overseas companies – costing the Kiwi firms hundreds of local jobs.

Three sources within the companies have told the Herald on Sunday they were unsuccessful in their joint bid for the Papakura to Pukekohe rail electrification contract in South Auckland.

Construction companies Fletcher and Downer are reportedly “fuming” after a $371 million Government rail contract has been awarded to overseas companies – costing the Kiwi firms hundreds of local jobs.

Three sources within the companies have told the Herald on Sunday they were unsuccessful in their joint bid for the Papakura to Pukekohe rail electrification contract in South Auckland.

The source said the contract would have saved many of the 1000 local jobs slashed late last month in response to Covid-19 economic losses.

KiwiRail chief operating officer of capital projects David Gordon would not confirm the contract was already decided.

Gordon admitted price estimates were a factor in judging the applications.

Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Winston Peters, would not be drawn on the wisdom of the KiwiRail electrification contract going overseas, but pointed out the unsuccessful firms could still win another $315m Auckland rail project soon.

“KiwiRail cannot be influenced by ministers in their tender process, and must follow government procurement rules, which at this time do not allow them to discriminate against foreign-owned companies,” Peters said.

Newshub in 2017:  The comprehensive list of Winston Peters’ bottom lines

Mr Peters wants all Government carpet procurement to be sourced from New Zealand woollen carpet manufacturers. It also applies to all other Government procurements: buy NZ-made products first.

LIKELIHOOD: HIGH. This is an easy win for Mr Peters, with both Labour and National unlikely to fight him on this one. It could mean higher costs for Government departments though.

 

It’s also embarrassing for Labour who kicked up a big stink about KiwiRail contracts not being kept local when they were in opposition.

Labour leader Phil Goff in 2011: Labour policy to retain jobs

Kiwi jobs will not keep disappearing overseas if Labour gains power, party leader Phil Goff said in Dunedin last night.

Launching Labour’s procurement policy before Hillside Engineering rail workers and others, Mr Goff said government departments would be required to look at the wider economic benefits when tendering contracts.

Keeping work local contributed to the tax base, while building workers’ skills and creating job opportunities.

Local firms would miss out only where there was an overwhelming economic case for tenders to go off-shore.

Labour leader Andrew Little in 2015: Labour will use buying power to create jobs

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.

“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.

Five years later it’s as important than ever that local business is supported. Awarding a rail contract to overseas companies may be a reality of economics, but if this was a National government it’s likely that Labour and Peters would have been making a noise about it,

UK Labour policy to trial Universal Basic Income if elected contrary to research

Labour (UK) is promising to Introduce trials of a Universal Basic Income, but recent research concludes: There is no evidence that the project can meet its goals while being economically viable at the same time.

Golriz Ghahraman responded:

Yes! Two things:

1) There’s enough longitudinal research around the world to prove UBI works. No need for a ‘trial’. Let’s just pick the most effective version and apply it.

2) UKGreens had this policy first, but nice to see the big parties following the Green movement
💚😊

The most effective version? I don’t know of anywhere that a country-wide UBI has been tried successfully.

From the Green Party Income Support Policy

Specific Policy Points

  • Work with other parties and the public to develop a proposal(s) for the introduction of a UBI and the changes needed to fund and implement it.
  • Set benefit amounts at a level sufficient for all basic needs of the individual/family.

I don’t know whether any work is being done with Labour towards introducing UBI.  I would be very surprised if the Greens are doing anything with NZ First on one.

Last week from Stuff:  Universal Basic Income is a failure, new report says

A new study on universal basic income (UBI) is challenging the central claim used to promote the scheme: that, if done right, it can help alleviate poverty.

Proponents of the basic income argue that it will help those below the poverty line pay for essentials like food, housing, and healthcare, according to the assessment by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in the UK.

The NEF reviewed 16 real-life UBI trials to see whether a basic income can really bridge the inequality gap.

Its conclusion: There is no evidence that the project can meet its goals while being economically viable at the same time.

I wonder what Ghahraman’s “There’s enough longitudinal research around the world to prove UBI works” is based on.