'No-one covered in glory' over Novopay: Joyce

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 08:32 23/01/2013
STEVEN JOYCE
STEVEN JOYCE: "From a Government point of view, from a ministry point of view and from a supplier point of view, there's plenty of blame to go around."

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Government fix-it Minister Steven Joyce says there is "plenty of blame to go around" for the Novopay school payroll issues, warning that problems would continue for some time.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday gave Joyce the task of resolving the ongoing problems with Novopay, which have seen many teachers suffer issues with their wages for months.

Today Joyce said Novopay had been conceived by the Labour government up to seven years ago because of problems with the old system, but he said blame for the failures should be shared by many parties.

"They [Labour] should take a little bit [of responsibility]," Joyce told TV1's Breakfast this morning.

"But let's be fair, no-one's covered in glory here," he said.

"From a Government point of view, from a ministry point of view and from a supplier point of view, there's plenty of blame to go around.

"But the point is this thing has been created in response to perceived problems at the time that go back five or seven years."

Joyce said "nobody" was happy with the current issues, from the Government and ministry officials to Talent2, the Australian company which developed Novopay.

Critics have said the appointment of Joyce to fix the issues was a sign of a lack of faith in embattled Education Minister Hekia Parata, but the Economic Development Minister said he enjoyed taking on special projects, allowing Parata to focus on issues with National Standards and on trying to improve grades among teenagers.

"We don't want her bogged down with what is essentially a commercial issue," Joyce said.

Refusing to say what action the Government may take in response to the problems, having had responsibility for resolving it for less than 24 hours, Joyce said he would not ruled out any options.

These included legal action against Talent2, or attempting to get out of its contract with the company.

Whatever the case, the problems were likely to continue.

"I don't yet see an opportunity where it's going to settle down and become straightforward," Joyce said.

Labour dismissed Joyce's claim that it shared part of the blame.

Acting education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the Government had been in power for four years and were responsible for the problems.

"They can't blame the previous government for this," Hipkins said.

"They signed off on this, they pushed the 'go live' button, and they've been quite content to just sit back and watch while this train wreck has unfolded.

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"They really should have intervened a long time ago."

- Stuff

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