The Government is in the market for millions of litres of house paint for repairs to Canterbury homes covered by the Earthquake Commission (EQC).
The newly-formed Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - dubbed the Super Ministry - has called for tenders to supply about 5 million litres of paint for the Canterbury rebuild.
The EQC asked the ministry for help in getting a good deal on paint its contractors will use for the rebuild.
The EQC is repairing about 100,000 homes with $10,000-$100,000 of damage and has enlisted Fletcher EQR to project manage the task.
The paint tender document has left the details vague, but it appears the tender is not so much for a massive consignment of paint as it is for rights to the EQC rebuild market.
The winner - or winners - will almost definitely be given exclusive right to supply paint for EQC repairs.
The paint would preferably be supplied to contractors through existing trade channels and will need to come in all the reasonable colours of the rainbow.
An EQC spokesman said the agreement was intended to work as a rebate scheme, with the paint supplier giving the Crown a rebate on paint bought by contractors undertaking Canterbury Home Repair Programme repairs.
"The benefit to the taxpayer would be lower repair costs to EQC through the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, and by extension, a smaller call on the Crown guarantee covering some of EQC's earthquake liabilities."
The rebate is essentially a discount for the Crown, and potential suppliers are asked to give their best percentage in their tender replies.
At the beginning of the rebuild, Fletcher EQR estimated materials would make up between 35 per cent and half of the total cost. That means a discount on materials is likely to have a significant impact on the total cost, which was predicted to be $2.5 billion.
A Super Ministry spokesman said procurement support had been given to the EQC several times since the Canterbury quakes.
And it's likely to lend another hand or two, with the tender document implying other building materials are likely to be given the same treatment.
The two-week window for paint tenders closes today. The contract will be awarded on September 3.The contract for the preferred paint supplier would also extend to the rest of Government agencies as part of the All of Government procurement policy.
It may also be used for the repairs and rebuilds of Southern Response Earthquake Services - the AMI Insurance claims taken on by the Government.