A bid by Labour leader Andrew Little to make Government prioritise New Zealand companies and local jobs in any tender processes has failed at the first hurdle.

Little's Our Work Our Future Bill was voted down by 61 votes to 59 votes last night, with National, Act and United Future opposing it.

It would have added two new principles to the Government's rules for procurement.

Firstly, the Government would have to take into account the number of jobs created in New Zealand in any procurement tender. And secondly, Government contracts would have to be designed in a way which gave New Zealand companies "a fair chance of winning".


Little pointed to the tender process for the Inland Revenue Department's IT upgrade as an example of how the existing system "fails New Zealanders".

The $1.9 billion project should have been divided up into smaller projects that local companies could have carried out, he said, instead of being bundled into a single project that only large foreign companies could take on.

National MP Todd Muller said the bill was unnecessary, noting that many New Zealanders had been employed in the IRD upgrade. He also said Little's law change could breach trade agreements and damage international relationships.


Parliament also voted unanimously to support a bill which would allow organ donors to be properly compensated while recovering from their operation.

The bill, in the name of National backbencher Chris Bishop, ensured that donors received compensation of 100 per cent of their earnings for up to 12 weeks. They could also get some relief for leave taken before an operation.

Bishop said the existing system was "manifestly unfair" because donors could only get the equivalent of the sickness benefit - around $210 a week - while recovering.


A bill in the name of Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, which would have given tenants greater rights, was voted down by 61 votes to 59.

Turei's bill would have required landlords to give 90 days' notice before selling a rental property; given tenants first right of refusal when a property's lease came up for renewal; restricted rent increases to once a year; and required landlords to give a clear indication of how rent increases would be calculated.

With home ownership rates at the lowest level in 65 years, Turei said it was important to give tenants a "fair deal" and greater stability.

Act Party leader David Seymour, who voted against the bill, said all of these measures could already be written into a tenancy contract and a law change was not required.

United Future and National also voted against the bill.