It was great to see our community turn up for the ANZAC commemorations despite the tricky weather. This ANZAC day was the third time I have had the privilege of laying the wreath at the Te Karaka commemoration on behalf of the Gisborne District Council. Even though I’m voted in as a city councillor, I love participating in our rural area civic duties, especially at Te Karaka. I have so many fond memories of driving the school tractor through the township, helping my Papa Bob do the hay baling with my brothers and herding the sheep down Paulson to be shorn.

I also have so many fond memories of attending the dawn services with Papa Bob as a bleary eyed, angsty teenager. But there was nothing like standing with him at dawn, in stoic silence, while listening to The Last Post. So being able to lay the wreath at Te Karaka is always extra special to me.

Our council committee meetings are this week.  We are discussing many things; the Olympic Pool, the Inner Habour and Marina pontoons, Peel St toilets and Arts in Public places in Community Development; earthquake prone buildings, feral pigeons, and stock control in Environmental Planning and Regulation, and in Finance and Audit we are workshopping our procurement policy.

This workshop is what I want to expand on. While every topic above is important, procurement is weaved through all of them.

Procurement is a fancy word for how an organisation buys goods, works and services.  An effectively applied procurement policy aims to deliver the highest value to the organisation at minimum cost.

Highest value is more than just ‘cost savings’; highest value includes many things. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but highest value can include whole of life of the asset in question. So is the asset we are building, say the Peel St toilets, going to be the most cost effective to maintain in terms of build strength and cleanliness? Saving dollars upfront may have future financial consequences.

Highest value can also include practical things like having goals to minimise wastage and to be environmentally sustainable. We also include our legislative obligations under the Local Government Act and the advice from the Office of the Auditor General, around goals, risks, acting ethically, with an open, fair and transparent process for the purpose of ‘social, economic, and cultural interests of people and communities; to enhance the quality of the environment; for the foreseeable needs of future generations.’

My family and I have a budget, and sometimes we have to review our priorities for how we spend our money to make sure our households receive the highest value. Sometimes we decide to keep the same priorities in the same order, sometimes we change the order and sometimes we decide to change the priorities. However, every time compromises are made. The decisions at the procurement workshop are much more complex than my household budget, however finding the right compromise to deliver highest value is a similar focus.

There are many facets to procurement. If you’re interested in hearing them and the views of the councillors, then feel free to attend the meeting or watch the livestream. Our current procurement policy is also available to the public.

I want to end this column with a special thank you to the Te Karaka Volunteer Fire Brigade, the cadets, Owen Lloyd, Tim Brown and the rest of our NZDF representatives who always take leadership roles at the Te Karaka service. It would not happen without you. Thank you for helping us remember them.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou. We will remember them.

As always, honoured to serve you Tairāwhiti.