You got to love this Novopay hit job



Let’s see what the drama is all about

Southland schools are struggling with new Novopay problems, prompting some to suggest it might finally be time to ditch the plagued system.

The Government has now pledged $43 million to fix Novopay glitches, which have been frequent since the payroll system was introduced in 2012.

Southland Primary Principals’ Association president Ben Witheford said that, after promising signs last year, pay periods this year had been fraught with new “time-wasting” problems.

One staff member had been paid for 80 hours’ work when she had worked only 55 hours, others had found their special allowances suddenly stopped, and wait times for the Novopay helpline, which had improved, were back to unacceptable levels, he said. ?

Witheford had also been told of schools not being able to log into the Novopay system at all.

In March last year, Minister Responsible for Novopay Steven Joyce said he hoped all problems would be fixed by June last year, which Witheford believed was not an unreasonable expectation at the time.

“I would have agreed with him last year. There seemed as if there was progress.”

However, as several new problems had occurred this year and lingering concerns were still to be resolved, it could be time to scrap Novopay, he said.

“The system has had long enough. It’s had enough money put into it. I think they need to seriously look at building something that’s going to work.”

Southland Primary Principals’ Association president Ben Witheford certainly seems to be at the sharp end of it all.

But to call for the whole system to be scrapped really destroys any credibility whatsoever. ?Either he has no concept of what he’s saying or he’s just being a trouble maker.

So how extensive is this problem?

St Theresa’s School principal John Lieshout said his school had been advancing pay to some staff members, as there had been problems actually getting them on to the Novopay payroll.

He hoped things would be worked out within a few months, but he was not convinced.

“I think there’s still a lot of improvement left. I would hope that it would be fixed, but I’m not that confident.”

Oh no, a 2nd principal has had some problems. ?That sounds like scrapping time to me.

What else?

Not all Southland schools have been so hard hit, with some reporting only minor problems.

East Gore School principal Wes Gentle said although the school had experienced problems during the start-of-year process with teacher aides’ pay, things seemed to be coming right.

Wes at least has the stones to not add fuel to the fire.

So here we are: ?Two principals report severe problems, one says it’s been the usual start-up to the year and things are settling.

Does that sound like a reason to call for Novopay to be scrapped to you?

But here comes the last sentence. ?Get ready…

The main problems had been traced to data-entry errors and there were also concerns with the way the service-centre model worked, but that was being revised, with changes to be introduced in the first half of this year.

Of course, this has nothing?to do with it being an election year. ?It has nothing to do with Hekia Parata being on the back foot. ?This has nothing to do with unions agitating in an election year, and this has nothing to do with certain newspapers and journalists running an anti-government agenda.

A “Dump Novopay” headline comes down to one or two schools having staff that are terrible at data entry.

Take a bow journalist Lauren Hayes. ?For taking a story about data entry errors, which makes Southland Primary Principals’ Association president Ben Witheford?look like he’s in charge of a bunch of incompetents, and and creating the impression schools nationwide should be rushing for the Novopay life boats.

Lauren, with work like that, you should be in PR.


– Stuff