Call for heads to roll over Novopay 'debacle'
By Adam Ray
More problems have emerged with the troubled Novopay payroll system for teachers.
Staff were supposed to be paid overnight, but plenty didn't get the right money – and now the politician who approved the new system is in the firing line.
When principals have their end-of-year meetings, planning is normally top of the agenda. Today it was Novopay, rather than next year
"We have an absolute lack of trust in the system," one told 3 News.
Since its introduction three months ago, Novopay has led to thousands of payroll errors. A month ago there were nearly 7500. Two weeks later this was down to 4300, and yesterday the backlog was about 400.
But last night's payments for 92,000 school staff have brought fresh issues. Half of principal Mary Jones' 16 staff at Pukerua Bay Primary have problems with their pay.
"We have had colossal errors, most unusual changes," she says. "Staff have been disadvantaged, incorrectly paid."
The New Zealand Educational Institute says teachers should be dealing with their pupils, not pay issues.
"The problems of the past still haven't been fixed up, and now we have a whole new raft of problems," says Paul Goulter.
Consultancy Talent2 was contracted by the Ministry of Education to run the $30 million system.
"Talent2 have dropped the ball in a big way in the first rounds which is compounding itself," says Associate Minister of Education Craig Foss.
But Mr Foss approved the start of Novopay, and Labour says he's at fault too.
"Clearly he has not managed it well, it's a debacle," says associate education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
"John Key needs to look at whether [Mr Foss] should be in charge."
Novopay's next test is just a week away when important end-of-year payments are due.
Teachers were already hostile to the Government because of class sizes and national standards, so there is extra pressure on the ministry and Talent2 to sort the mess out.