Principal loses faith on pay fix

LUCY TOWNEND AND TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 04/02/2013

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The promise of an inquiry into New Zealand's troubled teacher payroll system Novopay has left one Palmerston North principal feeling that the latest moves are more about politics, than fixing the problems.

"The politicians can sit around over a cup of tea and decide who will take the rap later, meanwhile we just want to return our attention to teaching and learning, rather than be drawn away from it by this bureaucratic shambles," Freyberg High School principal Peter Brooks said.

The proposal for a ministerial inquiry into Novopay being presented to the Cabinet today was not a promise to fix the problem, he said.

"[It's] fairly meaningless really and just a political move to restore some credibility. We just want the problem fixed and we would rather all attention was focused on doing that."

Freyberg had experienced 52 different errors since the system was rolled out in August, Mr Brooks said.

The nature of most of the problems came down to the incorrect number of days teachers were paid for and the wrong salary rates being processed, he said.

But Freyberg's staff are not alone, as of January 6, 14,470 teachers nationwide were owed about $11.8 million in wages.

Last month Cabinet minister Steven Joyce was drafted in to fix the disastrous payroll system and announced a ministerial inquiry would be launched in the hope of revealing what went wrong.

It would look into the Ministry of Education and Novopay provider Talent2's involvement too.

With the first pay of the 2013 term one semester going through last week, Mr Brooks said he could have predicted Freyberg was going to have problems, and it did.

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- Manawatu Standard

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