Something is ''amiss'' in the way technology projects
such as Novopay are sourced by the New Zealand Government, a
computer software engineering specialist says.
Otago Polytechnic information technology senior lecturer Tom
Clark said the issues with
the Novopay payroll system were part of a wider problem in
which contracts to build large-scale technology projects
ended up going to companies off-shore.
''Something is amiss in the way that our Government is
sourcing these technology projects.
''They are going to large offshore development firms, which
makes sense at first glance, because these companies have
resources and experience appropriate for projects of this
''But we're missing out on the opportunity to foster that
kind of engineering capacity here in New Zealand,'' he said.
''We want to see Kiwi developers competing for, and landing,
large development projects overseas rather than sending our
dollars and work abroad.
''This sort of high-value technology work could be a
tremendous asset to our economy.''
Mr Clark said New Zealand had a well-educated workforce, and
its remote location did not hinder its competitiveness
abroad, as it did in some other industries.
He believed the Government should be helping to start this by
structuring the bidding process in a way that gave New
Zealand-based companies fair access.
Earlier, Mr Clark said it would be easier to dump the Novopay
system and rebuild it from scratch than repair its
''And, in the meantime, we have an older version of Novopay
that we know works, even if it does need an upgrade.
''Given that the current version does not work and is not
likely to in the foreseeable future, the correct course of
action is obvious.''
Auditor-general Lyn Provost announced this month she was now
monitoring the problems being experienced by the education
sector with Novopay, but stopped short of saying there would
be an inquiry into the payroll system.
The Ministry of Education also announced it would commission
an independent review.
The post-implementation review is expected to start in April.
''Therefore, I have decided that it would be premature for
this office to begin an inquiry at the moment,'' Mrs Provost
The agencies responsible for understanding and fixing the
problems ''should be given a reasonable opportunity to do
''I fully appreciate that this is a difficult and stressful
time for all involved, and I will be keeping a close eye on
''If the steps that the ministry takes do not adequately
address the issues, I will reconsider whether there is a role
for my office.''
Mrs Provost said the office's priorities around Novopay were
completing annual audit work to ensure schools could sign off
their payroll reports and annual financial statements.