Beneficiary paid teacher's salary by mistake

The Government's promised not to boost benefits in this year's Budget, but that hasn't stopped one man from getting an unexpected windfall.

Balclutha man Sheldon Campbell says he was checking his balance at an ATM on Wednesday and noticed he was $2631.81 richer than expected.

"When it came up on the ATM as a salary, I thought, salary? I don't have a full-time job."

The part-time worker got right on the phone to ANZ, his bank.

"I asked, 'Where did that money come from?' They said, 'Um, the Ministry of Education.' I went, 'What? I'm not even a teacher.'"

Campbell says nor has he ever been a teacher or had a job with the Government.

He says the bank immediately reversed the wayward payment.

The Ministry of Education forwarded Newshub's query to Education Payroll Ltd, which operates the Novopay system used to distribute teachers' pay.

A spokesperson said it was aware of the mistake, but "can confirm it is not an Education Payroll Limited matter or Novopay system error".

"We thank the recipient of the funds for their honesty in alerting the bank and having the funds returned."

It's not clear how the funds ended  up in Campbell's account. He only briefly considered taking advantage of the mistake, but quickly realised that would be an even bigger one.

"I've seen it in the past since the whole thing started with Novopay, people getting threatened with court action. I thought, 'No no no, not going to happen to me'. I don't need to be getting in trouble with the Ministry for Social Development for getting paid money I'm not owed."

Novopay had a rocky launch in 2012, with thousands of teachers across most of New Zealand's schools being paid the wrong amount - or nothing at all.

The Government wrested control of the system from Australian company Talent2 in 2014, and spent tens of millions of dollars to get it into the state it's in now.

Though the error rate has come down since then, Education Payroll is planning to replace it with a new system called EdPay, starting later this year. Trials for the system begin this month at a few schools in Wellington.