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Talent2 faces financial penalties if Novopay not fixed by Wednesday – Key

PM rejects union call for inquiry, instead turning up the heat on the Australian company that operates the teacher pay system. 

NBR staff
Mon, 12 Nov 2012

Novopay's maker faces financial penalties if problems with teachers pay are not fixed by Wednesday, Prime Minister John Key says (teachers' pay day is Tuesday).

The PM’s pressure comes after a new problem with the system emerged over the weekend. It was discovered a school could see the pay, and edit details, of a teacher who worked for another school.

The government paid Australian company Talent2 (formerly Morgan & Banks) $30 million to develop Novopay. Since the new online system was introduced three months ago, thousands of teachers have been incorrectly paid or not paid.

Mr Key said he could not comment on the specifics of Talent2’s commercial contract, but financial penalties would be likely, among other measures, if the mid-week deadline was not met.

Yesterday, the NZEI – a union representing 50,0000 teachers – demanded a full public inquiry into what it calls "the Novopay debacle".

This morning, the prime minister brushed aside the call. He said the blame for Novopay problems lay with Talent2, not the government. Pressure was being put on Talent2 to fix the errors.

"The issue isn't with the associate minister in this case. Craig Foss is doing a good job," Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme. (Associate Education Minister Mr Foss has taken over responsibility for Novopay from Education Minister Hekia Parata.)

"The issue is with the provider."

The prime minister said there were 60,000 teachers and their payroll system was complex, with three layers of rates teachers could be paid at.

But mistakes were not good enough, Mr Key said.

"Talent 2 worked on that for a long time. It's a big project. The government's paid them a lot of money and they should have got that all right.

"A lot has been fixed up, but not enough. So to those teachers who haven't been paid and are owed back-pay, that is unacceptable because people rely on their pay to pay their bills."

NBR staff
Mon, 12 Nov 2012
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Talent2 faces financial penalties if Novopay not fixed by Wednesday – Key