Auditor-General critical of light rail project

The writes to the MOT about Auckland light rail:

It seems unusual to us for such a fundamental reconsideration of project scope/parameters to occur alongside the selection of a party to deliver , or at the same time as exclusive negotiations with a delivery partner might occur (once one was selected). In our view, where something occurs that causes the overall project parameters and the procurement approach to be reconsidered, or for the key policy settings to be revisited, the more appropriate step would be to terminate any existing process in an open and transparent way and revisit the policy and planning for the project.

Basically you decide what you want first, then you tender for it.

We were told at one point that it was open to the Government or Cabinet to choose not to follow the Rules in certain situations. Although it is correct that the Rules do not have the force of law, we note that they are mandatory for many public organisations. Where there is potential for international investors, we need to be mindful of the international obligations we have under free trade agreements. The Rules are designed to guide public agencies to procure responsibly and achieve public value, and maintain the integrity of government procurement and New Zealand’s reputation as a country that “plays by the rules”. This is something which Rules, and the principles in the Rules, are designed to promote.

Basically the process used by Twyford broke the procurement rules.

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