Call for Parata's resignation

TALIA CARLISLE
Last updated 09:35 17/12/2012

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Kapiti Observer

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Waikanae School principal Bevan Campbell is calling for the resignation of Education Minister Hekia Parata as Novopay issues increase towards Christmas.

In the most recent pay round, Waikanae School staff were underpaid a total of $10,500 and overpaid $1100, he said.

"There is one person who has not worked at Waikanae School in 2012 yet is receiving over $600 in holiday pay.

"This level of failure is inexcusable and is a complete disgrace," he wrote in an email to Ms Parata on Wednesday.

"I ask again, when will we have a payroll system that we can rely on?

"I urge you once more to take responsibly for the ongoing failure of the Novopay system and resign as the Minister of Education."

On Friday, Ms Parata's press secretary Julie Ash said the letter had not been received and she was not in a position to comment.

Raumati South School principal Graham McDonald said Novopay issues are "doing my head in", resulting in stressed staff, just before the Christmas period.

"I had 11 errors two pays ago, 13 errors one pay ago and I've still got 14 this pay, so things are getting slightly worse if anything.

"A teacher has been waiting for the money they're entitled to since the fifth of September, I've got relievers who are still not sorted out for stuff that happened back in August, and then I've got [a] lady who suddenly got four days of holiday pay, even though she worked here for one day this year."

Mr McDonald agreed with Mr Campbell that Ms Parata should resign over the failed system.

Mr Campbell said he has "absolutely no faith" in the computing power of the software.

"You get it multiplying incorrectly . . . it doesn't calculate holiday pay correctly. The system is absolutely choca-block full of bugs.

"I don't think it's going to be fixed in the short term, it's going to cost the country a lot to fix it, if they'll be able to fix it at all."

The New Zealand Educational Institute has requested a full public inquiry into the Novopay payroll system, but Ms Parata told Fairfax NZ an inquiry would be premature, as the payroll system is very complex and the problems are already being addressed.

Education Ministry chief information officer Leanne Gibson told Fairfax NZ the ministry was working with Novopay's contractor Talent2 to ensure holiday payments went through as smoothly as possible, but regretted the delay in holiday payment to some staff.

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- Kapiti Observer

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