The problems caused by the Ministry of Education's Novopay
payroll system are mounting, with reports that school staff
have been receiving huge holiday pay packets they aren't
Today is the final payday before Christmas, and staff at some
schools received up to 100 times more holiday pay than they
should have, 3 News reported.
Tauranga's Oropi School principal Andrew King said some of
those receiving thousands of dollars didn't even work at the
In one case a payment was for $530, another was for $2800 and
a third was for $8600 - a total of $12,000 from the school's
"The $8000 payment is a support staff member who was employed
for three hours in term one, and the other support staff
member has done seven hours all year," Mr King said.
3 News further reported that there had been tens of thousands
of dollars in overpayments at Waikanae Primary on the Kapiti
Coast and at Wellington's Rongotai College.
"Maybe the minister [Hekia Parata] needs to take a harsh look
at herself while she's on her six weeks holiday that we won't
be having because we're having to sort out the Novopay
bungle," said Rongotai College principal Kevin Carter.
Schools have been left reeling at the beginning of their
holidays after a last-minute scramble to try to stop
incorrect payments from leaving school bank accounts.
Staff reportedly faced waits of more than 30 minutes when
they tried to get through to the Ministry of Education's
Ilminister Intermediate School principal Peter Ferris tried
to sort out $10,000 that had been wrongly allocated to be
paid to former staff. He was unable to, and payments of $5800
went to one staff member who hadn't worked at the school for
six months, and another $3600 went to a former part-time
He tried to contact the ministry's helpline on Thursday but
the payment still went through.
The head of the company behind the system apologised to
school staff left unpaid before Christmas but says he's
"bamboozled" anyone would be in that position.
Chief executive of Australian company Talent2 John Rawlinson
said there was no reason for staff to go unpaid because they
could get cash advances from their schools, who would be
"Either staff don't know about the process, the school
doesn't follow the process or they just don't want to get
Mr Rawlinson said there was a helpline and it would be
staffed during the holidays to deal with problematic pay.
He echoed the comments made by former Secretary for Education
Lesley Longstone, saying that if he could implement Novopay
differently he would - but he wouldn't think twice about
accepting the contract.
"We're really sorry that it hasn't gone better. It's been new
and there have been some errors, and there have been parts of
the process that haven't worked as well as they should have
and for that we apologise."
The ministry's chief information officer Leanne Gibson said
300 school staff had not received their holiday pay, but
73,000 school staff received their final pay for the year.
Thousands of staff have been incorrectly paid since the $30
million Novopay system for 92,000 school staff was introduced