Procurement of new 250K parliament conference system raise issue with government Tenders Board members.

Fale Fono confirmed this week that the government has awarded the contract for the conferencing and broadcasting system for the new parliament chambers to a New Zealand company, a contract worth more than $250 thousand dollars.

The procurement process of this contract has been criticized by some members of the Tenders Board, for bypassing the Board and not being transparent by involving the proper process of the Tenders Board.

Given the lack of a government procurement policy, the process of procuring for the internal fittings of the parliament has been done without going through the Cabinet-appointed Tenders Board.

According to Cabinet and Parliament services at Fale Fono, there were six quotations received for this contract, four from local businesses and two from overseas. The decision on the selection of the contractor was made by a ‘technical committee’ but it is not clear who is in this technical committee.

According to the unnamed Chair of the technical committee, this system is designed to cater for both radio and television as well as the requirements for the Hansards. The addition of broadcast standard PTZ cameras will provide the Assembly with the capability of live coverage on television as well as live streaming on the Internet.

BCN news asked who will be responsible for operating the system, the response was that “The contractor Kodum NZ is aware of the maintenance requirement and that there will be a discussion when the engineers arrive to install the equipment, but frontline maintenance will be someone based on the island.”

This company Kodum NZ also installed the conferencing system for the new Fale Fono building at Mulinuu in Samoa.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Tenders Board Fapoi Akesi, says that the Tenders board was not aware nor were they involved in the determination or the procurement of contracts for the fittings of the new parliament.

Another Tender Board member Julie Funaki says that there really is no point in having a Tender Board if the Government or Cabinet continue to make the final decisions or ignore sound decisions made by the Board.

“It makes no sense and is a mockery of the whole process and the capabilities of the members of the Tender board,” says Mrs Funaki.  

Julie Funaki says that she is speaking for herself and not the Board but she believes that the Board was given the mandate to make decisions on government tenders, however, the government has taken that mandate back and ignoring sound decisions made by the Tender Board.  

She also feels that decisions made outside of the Board will not be fair on local businesses and tradespeople, who depend on government contracts especially during these tough times.

The government Tenders Board was appointed by Cabinet last year not long after the general elections. It is chaired by former community affairs director Fapoi Akesi, Deputy Chair is former Telecom Director Tutuli Heka, Member include Julie Funaki, Foufou Talagi, Tifaga Tupuiliu and Denise Pihigia from the Chamber of Commerce provides secretariat services to the Tenders Board.

There has been no response to questions sent to the Fale Fono earlier this week as to why the government’s Tenders Board was not involved in the determination of contractor for the new conferencing and broadcasting system for the new parliament chambers.

The new parliament building is funded by the NZ government to the tune of $5 million dollars and is expected to be officially opened early next year.

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