'Nobody comes out looking tidy' - Joyce
Fri, 01 Feb 2013 10:16a.m.
By 3 News online staff
The minister charged with fixing Novopay says the Government must persist with the flawed system.
Steven Joyce admits sorting it out could cost millions and take months, but getting rid of it completely would be very difficult.
He has already ordered an inquiry, a review, a contingency plan and a strategy to “accelerate software stabilisation”.
But speaking to Firstline, Mr Joyce says it’s yet to be decided who will end up paying to fix the system.
“The taxpayer’s not going to fund it – that’s not a fair characterisation,” he says. “The taxpayer’s going to step up in the short-term, and I’ve said we’re not going to have the big arguments now about who should pay what and who’s fault is what.
“We’ll get on with fixing it, we’ll agree the money [that’s needed for it to be] fixed, and then we’ll sit down and work out who pays what.”
Despite Novopay’s problems, Mr Joyce says it would be very difficult to go back to the old system.
“Since the September quarter last year, a huge amount of data [has been] added to the new system, and if you went back to the old system you’d have to go in and re-enter all that data all over again and re-check all that data all over again.”
Mr Joyce admits the Government allowed the system to go live despite knowing it wasn't working properly, but says no-one expected the system’s bugs to be as serious as they turned out to be.
“Yes there were bugs, but actually in most software projects when they start there are known bugs with the project because the reality is never [is] everything perfect on the way in, that’s the thing with IT.
“All the advice from a number of agencies, and nobody comes out of this looking tidy, all the advice was ‘you should go ahead with it’.”
Mr Joyce says the option of getting rid of Novopay altogether remains on the table as a contingency plan.
Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) president Robin Duff says that while Mr Joyce’s “charm offensive” has been “pretty impressive”, he’s concerned that little has actually been done to improve the situation for teachers.
“Of course it hasn’t done a single thing really for improving or perfecting the system, which is long overdue,” says Mr Duff.
He applauds Mr Joyce’s confirmation that an inquiry is getting underway, and that scrapping the system altogether remains a last option, but warns that the worst may be yet to come for teachers. The first pay round of the year is one of the most complicated.
“With, at the same time, an indication that we’re going to have the worst, probably the worst, payroll delivery in the next one – which is sometime next week – there is very little for the Government, or even the minister to be relaxed about.”
Mr Duff says it’s “outrageous” that the system was approved when ministers were aware that it had bugs.
“The fact that ministers have that responsibility through the advice from their respective ministries, to make sure it is perfect, means that what has happened is in itself totally unacceptable. Ministers are simply not doing their job.”
Watch the video for the full interviews.
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2/02/2013 7:19:41 p.m.
Yeah of course Bill, it's the globally renown govt deal with the dreaded 'No Comeback' contract clause. The type of iron-clad,no-win clause that isn't heard of very often until someone throws it out there, as a possible reality on an online opinion page . Then if that's real we could still blame Labour for the whole thing....its called being 'evidentially' challenged Bill.
2/02/2013 12:08:01 p.m.
I would love to see the contract that Labour signed up to and the conditions of that contract. Maybe those clowns signed off on something that has no comeback.
1/02/2013 10:14:50 p.m.
It is as much of a failure of change managment within the MOE as it is a failing of Novopay.
What one earth where they doing implementing a change over to a new system as critical as this without a proper transition plan that involved parallel running of the existing system and the new one.
Having worked on Govt IT projects before it is no suprise that they didn't implement a proper plan. Most of them are badly managed by people outside their ability and competence
1/02/2013 7:25:49 p.m.
Can we fix it??? NO WE CAN'T
1/02/2013 6:07:14 p.m.
Aw damn, this govt just can't turn off the 'blunder' button. The Novopay virus that's plagued National for 6 months has ruptured on them and is releasing a dearth of toxic news to the public. This is only going to get worse before it gets better and by then National's rep will be in even more tatters...(is that even possible anymore?). This shows clearly that this admin have little regard for checks and balances if there is a dollar or two to be saved...in the long run, it ends up costing more for the 'cheaper' option. What a farcical start to the year...honestly...if it wasn't so tragic, it would be laughable.
1/02/2013 12:33:32 p.m.
And now for the cover up..no one will take responsibility. Ministers will shrug their shoulders and do nothing.
1/02/2013 11:54:05 a.m.
“The taxpayer’s not going to fund it – that’s not a fair characterisation,” he says. So Mr Joyce, do you really think that we the NZ tax payers will believe that, considering that you guys signed it off to go live knowing very well that the system wasn't ready to go? Stop bullshitting us for once!
1/02/2013 11:31:50 a.m.
This is what you get when you contract work out to Australian IT Companies. I worked in the industry over there and could have told them to stay way clear from them. Close enough is good enough for them. The incompetence shown by the Ministers involved and the bureaucrats leaves a lot to be desired. Time the Politicians Salaries were put onto this system, along with the bureaucrats that approved it, lets then see how fast it would be fixed.
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