Novopay Minister Steven Joyce says there is "a wider
range of villains" behind the troubled payroll system than the
National MPs whose offices are being picketed by frustrated
Members of the New Zealand Educational Institute,
representing primary and intermediate teachers, have been
protesting outside 35 National MPs' electorate offices this
They have targeted offices the length of the country from
Phil Heatley's office in Whangarei to Eric Roy's office in
Invercargill, including Education Minister Hekia Parata's
office in Porirua.
The picket comes six months after the launch of the Novopay
system, which has been plagued by issues each pay cycle
including underpayments and, in some cases, no payments at
Mr Joyce told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning that he
understood the teachers' frustration.
But he said there were plenty more people to picket than just
National MPs - including former Labour education minister
Trevor Mallard and his then adviser Chris Hipkins.
"I understand they want the thing solved, but actually
there's a wider range of villains in this ... This problem
goes back many years and in fact this is the second pay
system which has been difficult."
Mr Joyce said there had been similar issues with the pay
system for teachers introduced in the 1990s.
"So there's something about the way we pay our teachers in
this country as well which causes a problem whenever the
software is changed ... We do have to get to the bottom of
Mr Joyce said a lot of work had been put into fixing the
Novopay system and a number of errors had been stabilised.
He said 80 bugs had been fixed two weeks ago and another 150
would be fixed in two weeks' time.
"It's still unacceptable levels - roughly just under 2 per
cent of the last pay were errors and it should be down around
half to 1 per cent in a mature pay system.
"And that's an important thing to point out, too. There's
always errors in a pay system and in fact this time last
year, the old system was delivering about five or six hundred
teachers that weren't being paid."
Asked if he still had faith in Talent2, the company which
built the Novopay system, Mr Joyce said "maybe" - but there
was a long way to go.
Mr Joyce said there should be no teachers who was not getting
"The system is obviously not delivering pay for some people,
but there are systems in place to make sure that people get
paid immediately afterwards if there's a problem."
Some schools were also making payments to teachers.
NZEI president Judith Nowotarski said the union had been to
weekly meeting with Mr Joyce but had not seen a reduction in
the level of frustration from members.
Ms Nowotarski said the action would not interrupt the school
The union wants the Government to agree to a package of
support measures for schools, and to ensure adequate staffing
and service levels at Novopay and the Ministry of Education.