Otago principals are guarded following the Post Primary
Teachers' Association's launch of a group legal action
against the Government over the Novopay debacle.
PPTA president Angela Roberts said the association would be
seeking compensation for members for the ''hurt, humiliation
and financial suffering'' caused by the ''dysfunctional''
The New Zealand Educational Institute told the Otago Daily
Times yesterday it, too, was investigating legal action
against the Government, although it could not say when.the
PPTA's national executive met at the weekend, resolving to
open a legal channel enabling members to take collective
Ms Roberts said despite reassuring noises made by Government
representatives, there were still no definite plans to
develop a resourced survival package for affected schools and
With growing pressure from struggling members, the PPTA had
decided to take matters into its own hands, she said.
Members were invited to join the collective action and
responses were pouring in, she said.
The union was still deciding if the legal action would be
taken against the Government or the Novopay provider,
Because of the complexity of the case, the association was
looking at various legal options.
''We are discussing the issue with our lawyers while we
collect data and prepare witness statements,'' she said.
Otago Secondary Principals' Association president Brent
Russell was guarded in his response to the announcement and
declined to say whether the move was welcomed by principals.
However, he was not surprised by the PPTA's action.
''While some of the Novopay issues have been addressed, there
are still an unacceptable number of schools and individual
staff members around the country who are still being
''To its credit, the ministry is keeping schools and boards
of trustees informed of the progress to date, in terms of
measures being taken.
''However, the bottom line is that the education sector needs
a robust and efficient payroll programme that works.''
Otago Primary Principals' Association president Whetu Cormick
was also guarded.
He wanted to know what the NZEI's response was first, and
instead chose to focus on the continuing distress caused by
''In light of the latest New Zealand Principals' Federation
survey results, which suggest that hundreds of school
administration staff are under stress and at the end of their
tether, it is no surprise that the PPTA has sought legal
advice to take action against the Government.
''There were 25,000 errors in the last pay round and one
would argue this situation is untenable.
''[Minister in charge of Novopay] Steven Joyce should take
serious action to remedy the situation or return to our
previous payroll provider.''
Mr Joyce said he was not concerned about the legal action.
''We're all frustrated, but I actually don't know if it will
''But that's over to them. They've got to decide what it is
that they want to do.''
He said much work was going on behind the scenes, and there
was ''no easy path through''.
A draft technical report was due at the end of this week,
which would provide information about whether the
remediations would solve the problems with Novopay.