Labour will re-write the rules for lucrative Government contracts to advantage bidders who can prove it will create jobs in New Zealand.

Labour leader Andrew Little made the jobs announcement in his speech at the Labour Party conference this afternoon in Palmerston North.

Similar to the Labour Party's policies in 2011 and 2014, he said Labour would harness the Government's $40 billion buying power to create jobs and help local businesses go up against big international companies.

It would require government departments and agencies to design contracts so that companies which promised job creation and wider benefits to New Zealand had a fair chance of winning them.

Advertisement

The agencies would also have to report on the value of the contracts they have awarded based on this criteria.

"There have been too many jobs lost because of government organisations buying 'cheap' options from overseas."

He said Government contracts currently had tight criteria that shut out New Zealand companies and stopped them developing bids in conjunction with other local or overseas consortia.

The loss of Dunedin's Hillside rail wagon manufacturing and $1.5 billion on the new IRD computer system were examples where the contracts could have been used to generate work opportunities in New Zealand, Mr Little said other countries had similar policies and overseas companies would be able to bid on the same terms as New Zealand companies.

If the overseas company's bid offered more jobs and benefits to New Zealand, it would likely win the contract.