Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Ongoing Saga of Novopay and the Minister of Misinformation

This morning I was cruising through all the news apps on my phone and I spotted this wee story from late yesterday afternoon from 3 News:  Ministry chasing Novopay overpayments.

Steven Joyce, the Minister of Misinformation, is at it again telling us that Novopay is settling in.

Bullshit Minister!

It has been 20 months since Novopay went live thanks to being signed off by Hekia Parata, Craig Foss and Bill English and it is still a dog with fleas throwing up new issues frequently.

At our last NZEI branch primary teachers PUM (paid union meeting), with maybe 70 odd attendees, 90% put up their hands to show they continued to have ongoing issues with Novopay personally. These ran from not being paid, to not being paid correctly (not at right level, under or overpaid, not paid units & allowances), to stuff ups with sick leave, maternity leave, unpaid or study leave. 
And that doesn't include principals, support staff or caretakers and/or cleaners.
In early March I was talking to a principal of a city school.  She is a strong character and doesn't take things lying down.  She told me one of the Novopay stories at her school: 
At the end of 2012, just as they were breaking up for the end of term four, Novopay made an overpayment of $17,000 to support staff, some teachers, and a teacher who hadn't worked at the school for months.  That $17,000 sent the school bank account into the red.
No reimbursement was made throughout 2013, despite numerous phone calls and letters and emails to Novopay and the Ministry of Education. 
As 2013 progressed, our heroine principal decided on a new plan of attack.  The local MP, a back bencher who doesn't get a lot of noticing outside the local city newspaper (he's really seen in the region's major newspaper, let alone in National media), was approached to help solve the problem.  This principal applied substantial pressure on this MP to advocate for the return of the monies owed to her school.  She applied this pressure regularly, so regularly that he decided that to get some peace he would get the MOE to reimburse this city school.
So early in 2014, the money was finally returned to this city school.  Then the MOE tried to tell the heroine principal that it was "just a loan" until Novopay paid back the money.  Back to the MP she went.... and he got the MOE to retract that statement.
I have another friend with a wife, several children and a mortgage who wakes up every second Wednesday and wonders if the Novopay Lottery has come through for him that morning.  Each fortnight throws up new wonders for him.  One week no pay, the next fortnight underpaid, the following correct, the next one overpaid....  Every fortnight brings new stress for him and his family.  It has an impact on him paying his mortgage, putting petrol in the car, child support payments....  It impacts his principal and office staff who deal with the fact that Novopay has stuffed up yet again.
So if you or a fellow staff member are still being given the short end of the stick 20 months after its implementation this is what you need to do:
  • inform your principal/admin staff responsible for Novopay in your school asap each time. 
  • ring NZEI on 0800 NZEI HELP (or the PPTA one if you're a secondary teacher) to get their support, but also so they can keep tabs on the problem and create general pressure.
  • keep a record of every Novopay stuff up and how it has affected you and what's been done to resolve it. Keep adding to the record each time a stuff up happens.  Make sure you have dates and even screen shots of your payslips and missed payments and extra charges from your bank accounts.
  • email that record of stuff ups to your local MP, Steven Joyce, Hekia Parata and even John Key and Nikki Kaye (Associate Minister of Education who seems to have a better grasp of the portfolio than Hekia) to show them that there is still a problem and it's ongoing.
  • send a copy to opposition education spokespeople like Chris Hipkins, Catherine Delahunty and Tracey Martin so they can keep the acid on the government.

I've said it before and I will continue to say it over and over again:  Novopay is a dog with fleas and should be dumped Steven Joyce.  Hekia Parata, Craig Foss and Bill English should have lost their jobs for signing off this project, and Hekia and Craig as well as Anne Tolley should have lost their jobs for not monitoring the project as it was developed effectively.

Essentially, these ministers, Mr Joyce, Ms Parata, Mr Foss and Mrs Tolley have failed the standard.


  1. Many times there have been interesting anomalies with my pay. Up and down, wrong pay step, paid too little, too much or not at all. This latest pay period, Novopay apparently couldn't find my bank account, calling it "closed/invalid".

    I got emailed directly from Novopay, who requested my reply with new account details. This I duly did, explaining that nothing about my bank account had changed.

    Nek minute: they wouldn't accept my reply as my email addy is not an "authorised" one. This, despite my "unauthorised" email address being the one they originally contacted me at. Finally, they got back to me to instruct me on how to properly inform them of bank account changes.

    Idiots still don't seem to be able to process that nothing about my bank account has changed. Apparently they are contacting the Ministry of Education to tell them to place the correct amount into my 'new' or 'correct' bank account.

    So it's the MOE's fault then? Okaaaaaaay.


    1. Thanks for sharing BWT. I would like to encourage others to share their experiences as well, in anyway they feel comfortable.