NZGP strategy master Murray Heyrick calls it a day
Whether negotiating for fighter jets or electric vehicles, New Zealand Government Procurement (NZGP) Principal Advisor Murray Heyrick’s strategic thinking has always been highly respected.
It’s why he played a key role in the talks to join the World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), debating with 47 countries to join in on $1.7 trillion in trade.
Seven years after they first embarked on the journey the results speak for themselves, with New Zealand ascending to the GPA in 2015.
Along with the support NZGP provided to the Christchurch recovery effort in 2011, Murray counts the deal as a career highlight – one of many, his colleagues say.
He’s open about his recipe for success, which is relatively simple, coming down to balancing planning with adaptability, and most importantly - keeping the customer at the centre.
“My father owned a grocery store and always pushed on to me the importance taking a customer-centric approach.
“In procurement this is essential as you’ve got to look at both sides of the equation to get a good result, and the best value for both parties.”
And it’s this value that procurement is about, not driving the hard bargain, says Murray.
“The New Zealand government spends $30 billion on goods and services annually so when you’re negotiating with a small business you often wield the power.
“If you wanted to you could push only your own agenda, but this doesn’t necessarily represent the best result.
“In NZGP you’ve got to think even more broadly than a single deal or a company – instead you’ve got to think about the New Zealand economy as a whole – and there’s always more value when both parties benefit.”
It’s been an influential approach in NZGP, with Murray overseeing the redevelopment of the Government Electronic Tender Services (GETS), and strengthening their governance structure.
With a master’s degree in policy, experience as a Group Captain in the Air Force, across the public sector, and ability to ‘read the mood’, there’s no denying it will be difficult to procure another Murray Heyrick when he retires this month.
But with the capable team in NZGP he leaves behind, and his push to bring procurement out of the back office onto centre stage, there is no doubt his influence will be felt for many years to come.