Joyce to sort out Novopay

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce given oversight of payroll system in cabinet reshuffle

Responsibility for sorting out problems with the Novopay teachers’ pay system has been transferred to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, as part of the Cabinet reshuffle announced by the prime minister today.

The troubled computer system has cast a pall over the portfolio of Education Minister Hekia Parata, and there had been calls from the teaching profession for her to take a more direct role in sorting it out. She has now been relieved of the responsibility.

“I share the concerns of teachers and principals at continuing problems in the operation of Novopay, and fixing this as quickly as possible is a priority,” Prime Minister John Key says in the announcement.

“A fresh set of eyes is needed and I have asked Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to take on this responsibility.”

The change will be achieved through a transfer of responsibility to Joyce under section 7 of the Constitution Act, which allows any member of the Executive Council to take on “any function, duty, or power exercisable by or conferred on any Minister of the Crown”.

“Getting Novopay working as it should may take some time, given what appear to be the systemic issues involved,” Key says. “I can assure teachers that we want to get Novopay sorted as soon as possible.”


Leanne Gibson


As CIO of the Ministry of Education I support and welcome Mr Joyce in his new role.



What is going to happen when people's pay get sorted our after 1 April? As it may mean for the 13/14 tax year they get bumped up a tax bracket when if paid correctly they wouldn't. So a double whammy not paid on time and also have to pay more tax.



I don't know if my rough calculation is correct - would appreciate someone else's numbers - but if it's around $200 per payslip, then it would likely have been cheaper to ditch novopay and go back to a manual paper-based system. Computers are supposed to make tasks like this orders of magnitude "cheaper" - not "more expensive" - at that rate I'd be happy to hire a team of people - one per school armed with pencils and ledgers to sort out the mess (would reduce unemployment numbers too!)



Highlights the need for full transparancy in Government IT - before, rather than after the fact.

IT investment plans and decisions etc should be made available to the 'Public Crowd' of Citizens before implementation with a full explanation of the options considered and the rationale for going with one or other.

If nothing else this information should be made more accessable to the computer press, IT profession and others.

I Still do not know why Novopay was chosen, e.g. on what basis, rationale and by whom?

Was outsourcing of the Payroll operation to a bureau ever considered?

What lessons need to be learnt from this experience in terms of other ongoing and future procurements and how will those lessons be shared?

What Governance procedures supported this procurement and implementation and why have they failed?

Why the gap between what was promised and what was actually delivered?

By all means get it working ASAP; but also try to understand why it did not work in the first place and stop it happening again and again?



Re. Lot's of questions still not answered?

..."I still do not know why Novopay was chosen, e.g. on what basis, rationale and by whom?..."

It has been reported as having been chosen by the former Labour Government and signed off by the then PM., Helen Clark in 2007. It was initially delayed for 2 years due to problems, then another 2 years.....finally, the Ministry of Education decided to 'bite the bullet' and launch it during August 2012 despite knowing it was still flawed.



let's hope his eyes are better!

maybe take a cane on your next visit to Australia?



Perhaps we need a 'Government failed IT Project Tax'? Let's say $200 per annum per citizen to pay for it on an annual basis? - that should cover it? - Yeah right?



As CIO of the Ministry of Education what are you personally doing towards resolving this disaster. Who signed off on the go live? Was any User Acceptance testing completed at all?

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