Yet another Government IT project has gone off the rails,
with a new Department of Conservation land management system
costing taxpayers millions in budget overruns while still
failing to deliver as promised.
As in the case of the Novopay debacle, officials have blamed
an Australian IT company.
The National Property and Land Information System (NaPALIS)
initiated two years ago was a joint programme intended to
replace the Department of Conservation's (DoC) and Land
Information NZ's (Linz) existing systems, with Tasmanian
company ICS winning the contract.
However documents obtained under the Official Information Act
by activist group the Taxpayers Union reveal the $5.6 million
project was completed several months late in September last
year, required an extra $588,967 to complete and even then
failed to function as required by DoC.
DoC has now allocated about $2 million of additional funding
to make the programme fully operational.
In a stinging independent report in February this year
management consultants Deloitte said "ineffective governance
and management" of the project "meant that a successful
outcome had not been delivered".
While Linz were using the system, Doc wasn't and had been
forced to spend the extra cash to get the system "to a point
where it will meet their business needs".
Deloitte said the project wasn't well set up from the
beginning and governance and project management controls
"fell short of good practice".
"These issues became prevalent as the programme was heading
towards the final stages of its implementation."
Deloitte acknowledged that DoC and Linz staff were under
pressure during the project which was also hampered by the
In its own report on the project late last year, DoC said the
project "has met the stated objectives".
Deloitte criticised DoC's closure report which "did not
reflect the true situation at the time of closure. Deloitte
noted DoC's report said the programme had been successfully
delivered "when there were contrary views".
It also noted that it heard comments blaming ICS for a number
of the failures in the programme.
"However the programme manager was responsible for managing
and overseeing the vendor (or should have been). This goes to
effective management of the vendors and inadequate
accountability being placed on the programme manager",
"What is it with government screwing up IT projects?,"
Taxpayers Union executive director Jordan Williams asked.
"DoC officials need to be held accountable for this
mismanagement. The Deloitte reports are damning of the
mismanagement of the project. The public should have known
about this a lot earlier."
Mr Williams said the DoC report "seems to skim over the clear
failings of the project management".
"That closing report should have included the lessons learned
from this cock up. It does nothing of the sort."
DoC Director-General Lou Sanson said it was expected the
system would be fully operational by the middle of next year.
"Staff are still able to use the database to carry out
regular work but delays in implementation mean they are
currently unable to access the full operational benefits of
the new system," Mr Sanson said in a statement.
"To date about 90 percent of the problems identified with the
upgrade have been resolved and staff are starting to transfer
onto the new system. The upgrade will provide a much better
platform for managing conservation land and we are focused on
making the full benefits available to all staff as soon as
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald