Progressive procurement looks beyond economic benefits

We all know that diversity of thought, goods and services has a huge impact on not only the economic success of a project but also on the social, cultural and environmental outcomes. We recently caught up with Height CEO Warner Cowin on how they're working with Māori businesses under the introduction of the Progressive Procurement Policy

‘’The procurement policy is a mandate to government agencies to look beyond price and increase the diversity of suppliers of goods and services,’’ says Warner about the Progressive Procurement Policy which currently focuses on helping Māori businesses build capacity and participate effectively in public procurement processes. 

‘’Building business capability is essential to enable Māori businesses to participate effectively in government and private sector procurement processes.’’ 

Height runs the Capability Uplift Programme on behalf of Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) working with 50 businesses a year to help them develop knowledge and capability to bid and mobilise for government contracts. 

Height has mentored and shared their manaaki with businesses like Yakas Construction and Wha Out Builders to develop tender documents and action plans to build capability and capacity.  

Height developed the programme with TPK after it was identified many Māori businesses required business development and tendering support to participate effectively in procurement processes. 

‘’Yakas Construction have won government contracts for Kāinga Ora but have also since won contracts valued at over $3 million, including community projects such as Otatara Marae,’’ says Warner.  

‘’The government spends more than $51.5 billion a year on the procurement of goods and services. As part of the policy, 150 mandated government agencies are required to meet a target of eight percent of the total number of contracts awarded to Māori businesses.  

‘’It’s a great start, but we’ve got a long way to go’’. 

There are many opportunities for Māori professional services firms, particularly firms with capability in Mātauranga Māori in regards to engineering and science.  

“We’restarting to work with Māori-owned planners, surveyors and architects on our programme.  

''As well as being a great opportunity for Māori businesses, progressive procurement is a chance for non-Māori service providers to form effective partnerships with Māori business to create a new business with a unique service offering. 

“We are starting to see joint ventures and other partnership arrangements happen with iwi and Māori businesses. An example is a partnership of a Māori service provider with a non-Māori technology platform to create a new business which offers a unique service offering. These are models that progressive engineering firms should be considering. 

‘’We’re facing significant challenges as a nation that’ll require bold and decisive decision-making centred around building long-term resilience in our communities. 

‘’Through continued work to support and lift wellbeing outcomes for Māori, we’re building a thriving economy for all New Zealanders.’’