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No Novopay inquiry, says Auditor-General

Thursday 24 Jan 2013 1:32 p.m.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost is keeping her eye on the problems around the Novopay system and could launch an inquiry if she thinks it's necessary.

The teacher pay system has been plagued with errors since it was rolled out in August and Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday put senior Cabinet minister Steven Joyce in charge of sorting it out.

Ms Provost says her main concern is whether schools will be able to sign off their 2012 financial statements and her office will help them if they have problems.

"I will be keeping a close eye on developments," she said on Thursday.

"If the steps the ministry takes do not adequately address the issues, I will reconsider whether there is a role for my office.

"I have decided it would be premature for this office to begin an inquiry at the moment."

Thousands of teachers have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all since August and the Australian company that supplied Novopay, Talent2, has consistently failed to meet deadlines to fix the problems.

Mr Key says he wants teachers - and Talent2 - to know the Government is serious about getting Novopay right.

Teacher unions have had enough and are reported to be considering striking in protest.

"I've heard talk, particularly from schools in Auckland, that they've had an absolute guts-full and they are talking about a form of action like that," Principals' Federation vice-president Phil Harding said on Wednesday.

Mr Key says he understands where teachers are coming from but striking won't solve any of the problems.

"You strike to get an outcome," he said.

"We're giving them an outcome, which is the most senior minister and a lot of focus from Cabinet."

NZN

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