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Birthdays are a special time. A time to reflect on progress and achievements. A time to look to the future with renewed optimism. No matter what you’ve gone through, a birthday marks the start of a new year. And “new year” can mean “new you”. And so it is as we approach the one year anniversary of the All of Government “TAS” Contract. Although there’s only one candle on the cake, if we cast our minds back nearly two years to August 2022, this bouncing little contract should be closer to its second birthday by now. However, MBIE’s incompetence caused it to gestate for nearly 10 months longer than we were initially told. This brings it closer to an elephant in obstetrics terms, but I digress. To mark its first birthday, the wankpuffins at MBIE sent out the below birthday message:

“Dear TAS supplier,

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the TAS contract, we are taking this opportunity to update the BMR (Best Market Rate) for the services within the scope of this agreement provided by you last year.

We kindly request you please to provide us with your latest BMR for the services within the scope of TAS by completing and returning the attached spreadsheet.

Your prompt attention to this matter will greatly help us in ensuring that our records remain accurate and up-to-date.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Professional Services Team – TAS”

Such beautiful prose. From an agency who have done more to systematically dismantle a whole industry in Wellington than any other, it’s wonderful to receive such encouragement. No “thank you”. No update. Just a request for your “Best Market Rate”. And do we get the sense that, like the rest of the f*cking world right now, they’re suggesting we up our prices to reflect inflation? Or are they suggesting that after having our pants pulled down by MBIE, and being aggressively fisted by a constant barrage of sub panels, we now need to invite them to penetrate our sphincters with a vinegar-soaked pineapple? If you wisely ignore and delete this email, you receive the following:

“Kia ora,

We would like to kindly remind you to submit your BMR for the services within the scope of TAS you offer to the wider market by the Friday 5 July please.

As mentioned below this will greatly help us in ensuring that our records remain accurate and up-to-date and allow us to calculate savings for agencies participating in the TAS contract.

Professional Services Team – TAS”

As someone who isn’t reliant on government spend, my response to this would autocorrect to “go duck yourself, you bunch of aunts”. Unfortunately, most of you don’t have this luxury. Instead, you send a response, and continue to haemorrhage cash as you wait until the inevitable destruction of a public sector being asked to do more, with less, because of…”targets”.

Anyway, as a birthday treat, here’s a little timeline of what MBIE have achieved.

August 2022: MBIE announce a radical new way of funding contractors via a “flat fee” into the government sector. A model so radical that no one on the entire f*cking planet has ever done it before. The deadline to change how your business makes money is September. This was allegedly done after “consultation” with recruitment firms. These “recruitment firms” were staffed by Big Foot, Mothman, and the Loch Ness f*cking monster.

September 2022: The RCSA request, under the freedom of information act, to know who was actually consulted. A small brown stain seeps into the underpants of the MBIE procurement team, and they “press pause” on the process.

October 2022: In a communique littered with errors, MBIE perform recruitments biggest U-turn and decide that we should just make margin on contractors like we have for a billion f*cking years. MBIE don’t apologise or recognise how incompetent they are, and recruitment agencies are too scared to tell them.

April 2023: Incredibly, we still don’t know who is on the panel. Submissions have been made, and presentations presented, and yet a new procurement team (after the others got a better job elsewhere) spend 4 months drinking coffee, playing golf, having affairs, and occasionally reading about how Māori every recruitment firm claims to be.

May 2023: The winners and losers are told in some weird random order.

May 2023: Auckland Council decree the panel is too big and want less suppliers who charge them even less. This heralds the birth of sub panels. Forget dropping your pants to get access to the entire public sector. What you actually did was drop your pants to get the chance to drop them again. And again. And again. This continues forever more

May 2024: Waka Kotahi get a third party consulting firm to try and tear up the contract and convert all contractors who have worked for two year to “pay roll only”.

June 2024: Secret, “Invite only” sub panel RFPs become a thing. Firms with contractors about to start are told to send these contractors to Robert Walters thankyouverymuch.

June 2024: MBIE invite us to review our prices with our “Best Market Rate”.

Happy Birthday everyone.


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