As pressure grows on councils around the country to cut costs, Whangarei District Council has saved nearly half a million dollars on a single roading contract by changing its tender system.
It is now asking contractors to design the roads in-house instead of having the design done by consultants, then calling for construction tenders.
Councillor Phil Halse says the amount spent on consultants has blown out in the past decade from 6% of the total job to 12%.
Mr Halse says that when the council opened the new-style tenders for seal extensions, the lowest was $480,000 less than the engineer's estimate.
He says the council badly needs to make savings after $8 million of storm damage to roads in two years.