Procurement consultants say QLDC needs to provide details
The procurement consultants who were paid over $360,000 by QLDC are pushing back on a council move to withhold information from Crux under official information legislation.
Crux asked QLDC on January 25th this year why Australian consultants ArcBlue were paid $361,197 in 2018/2019 for procurement advice relating to the building of new "three waters" infrastructure in Queenstown and Wanaka. We reported yesterday that QLDC is remaining silent on the question, using LGOIMA legislation to delay a reply for 20 days or more.
ArcBlue New Zealand consultant Dave Nellist, one of two ArcBlue consultants based in this country, told Crux today that his partners in Australia wanted QLDC to speak with Crux regarding details of their work. Mr Nellist indicated that information from QLDC would be forthcoming with the next one or two days, rather than the 20 days allowed under the LGOIMA legislation that can be triggered by the council if they want or need more time to provide answers.
Asked about the nature of the QLDC work Mr Nellist indicated that it did not involve procuring contractors for QLDC's three waters project (wastewater, drinking water and stormwater infrastructure.) Information on the Government tender platform GETS refers to the preparation of a Three Waters Procurement Plan alongside another unidentified QLDC procurement consultant.
The winner of the QLDC contract is referred to on GETS as Dave Nellist - not the Australian company ArcBlue. Mr Nellist declined to comment when asked if he or his company had any previous connections with QLDC.
At the same time QLDC had just hired in mid 2018 their own full time in house Procurement Manager Geoff Mayman.
Public records indicate that QLDC could have gained all the specialist knowledge it needed, including procurement advice, for the three waters project in the construction of Project Shotover and Project Pure - the two existing wastewater treatment plants in Queenstown and Wanaka. The combined contractors who worked on the 2016 $30 million Project Shotover sewage treatment plant in Queenstown even wrote a detailed paper for QLDC entitled "PROJECT SHOTOVER – WHAT DID WE LEARN? WHAT DID WE ACHIEVE?"
Crux will publish details of the ArcBlue contract and relationship with the council as soon as we receive that information from QLDC.
Main Image: QLDC's $30 million Project Shotover sewage treatment plant completed in 2016.