Thursday, August 13, 2020

There is no corruption in New Zealand

A corrupt public sector manager abuses their office to funnel public money to companies set up by himself and a friend. America? Australia? No, its New Zealand:

Consultancy firm Deloitte has delivered a damning report on the New Zealand Transport Agency that says it failed to follow its own processes, had un-managed conflicts of interests, operated on unsigned contracts, and paid out money for services for which it hadn't contracted.

The end result was a near-useless App developed by a contact of an NZTA manager that cost the taxpayer $198,000, and a more lucrative contract that saw the same company reap $1.5m in fees from civil contractors.

Newsroom understands NZTA's Zero Harm Manager Martin McMullan and his "friend" Martin Riding - they're referred to as 'ZHM' and 'Person A' in the text - are the two people at the centre of events within the report.

The article lays out how they set up a series of companies, which were immediately given money for app development without any competitive process (though in one case they set up a retrospective tender, which was open for all of four days, rather than the usual 25). Person A was also allowed to write one-sided contracts giving them ownership of any intellectual property in what would normally be work for hire. And to top it all off, it was all well outside NZTA's normal operational scope: these apps were to boost workplace safety by roading contractors on state highways, something you'd think would normally be the responsibility of, say, WorkSafe.

It's all a gross violation of government procurement policy, but its also nakedly corrupt, an abuse of public office by ZHM to enrich their mate. Which invites the question: why aren't they being prosecuted?