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Inquiry into Novopay needed - NZEI

Monday 12 Nov 2012 5:29 a.m.

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By 3 News online staff

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) is calling for a full public enquiry into the Novopay payroll system, and Labour wants Associate Minister of Education Craig Foss sacked.

Some teachers and staff continue to not be paid, and there have been reports of leaks of teachers' personal details and bank accounts.

NZEI says these latest issues are further indications there are ongoing problems with the $30 million system.

“We’re heading towards the end of year changeovers and beginning of year startups, the system’s not performing now, that’s going to compound the issue markedly, we’re really concerned that the guarantees that this system can perform and will do it correctly are far from being given,” NZEI president Ian Leckie told Firstline this morning.

NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter admits there is only so much teachers can put up with.

"Teachers' commitment is to teaching and learning but at the end of the day just like any employee they deserve to be paid the right amount at the right time, and there will come a point in time when they say this is just too much, this is another problem for us."

But Minister of Education Hekia Parata says an inquiry would be premature, as the payroll system is very complex and the problems are already being sorted.

Labour is calling for Mr Foss to be sacked, as Ms Parata has passed on Novopay responsibilities to Mr Foss. Labour education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta says Mr Foss has to go and Ms Parata should step in to fix the problem.

"[The] report of privacy breaches is yet further confirmation of just how botched the introduction of Novopay has been," she says. "Clearly the system was nowhere near ready or fit for purpose when it was introduced.

"The problems with Novopay are now so serious and so widespread that the Education Minister Hekia Parata has no choice but to step in over the top of her Associate Minister Craig Foss, who is clearly out of his depth."

But Mr Foss says he has not dropped the ball.

"The ball certainly hasn't been dropped – over 450,000 teachers have been paid and I fully acknowledge the frustrations of some of the relieving staff over some of those issues." 

Mr Leckie agrees.

“All of these are just adding to the stress, all the time, of people who expect to be paid correctly on the day,” he says.

Ms Mahuta says getting teachers' pay packets sorted properly was basic, and that they had the right to be paid on time and in full for the work they do.

Mr Foss told Parliament last week the remaining 3200 errors in the system would be fixed by Friday. No decisions had been made on compensating schools or teachers for the mistakes.

3 News / RadioLIVE / NZN

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