Delighted the data centre contract was awarded to a New Zealand company

At Computerworld James Henderson reports: Spark seals $60 million IRD contract as Revera overhauls tax system.

The headline tells the story in 11 tight words. Nice work.

Next comes what old school journalists call the second deck: 

We are delighted that the data centre’s contract has been awarded to a New Zealand company.

It is a direct quote from the Inland Revenue Department’s deputy commissioner Greg James.

A government department buying IT services from a New Zealand company shouldn’t be remarkable.

But it is.

I sometimes wonder if New Zealand government departments are allergic to home grown technology.

If this was Australia, the USA or the UK, government would be under pressure to buy from local suppliers. Listen to what candidates in the US presidential primaries say on the subject.

It’s a vote winner. It should be here.

Yet at times it feels as if the political pressure in New Zealand is in the opposite direction.

This isn’t about protectionism. After all, we’re a free trade economy. Yet it often feels as if government is biased against local tech companies.

We have world class tech companies. Spark Digital is least as good as its overseas owned competition. So is Revera. So are the other top tier local IT companies.

They don’t need favouritism. Give them a fair crack at contracts and you’ll find you get better service from professionals well acquainted with local conditions. You’ll create more, high-quality jobs and keep more local talent at home.

I’d be delighted with that.