Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins says the prime
minister's decision to hand responsibility for the vexed
Novopay system to Steven Joyce is a sign of his lack of
confidence in Education Minister Hekia Parata.
Prime Minister John Key announced Economic Development
Minister Steven Joyce would take over the handling of the
Novopay system from his associate education minister Craig
Foss in today's Cabinet reshuffle.
The system, which handles the pay of school staff, has been
plagued with errors since it was introduced last year. Mr Key
said it was time for a "fresh set of eyes" to try to resolve
Despite a trouble-filled 2012, Ms Parata has kept her
portfolio and her front bench ranking.
Mr Hipkins said Novopay should be handled by the Education
Minister and Key's choice of Mr Joyce over Ms Parata was
clearly a snub.
"It doesn't say much for his confidence in Hekia Parata that
he has taken the biggest issue currently boiling away in the
education portfolio and given it to someone else to deal
with. If Hekia Parata is going to be the Minister of
Education she should be the Minister of Education and what we
are seeing is that whenever there is a big challenge in
education, John Key is going to pick it up and give it to
He predicted Gerry Brownlee would start to take over the
handling of the restructure of Christchurch schooling "and
Hekia Parata will effectively be Minister of Education in
Making the announcement Mr Key said resolving the "systemic
issues" of Novopay was a priority, but could take some time.
Mr Hipkins said it remained to be seen whether Mr Joyce was
up to the job "but this has been going on for months and
months and teachers still aren't being paid".
- Claire Trevett of the New Zealand Herald