Editorial: How did it all go so wrong?

Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013

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OPINION: How on earth did teachers get paid before Novopay? How on earth did they get paid in the olden days when they got pay packets with actual cash in them?

Those must have been really good payroll systems.

Instead we've entered an amazing computerised age where a separate system is now required just to log the complaints. If you can manage to get through to log them that is.

We could ask how it got to this point, except no one seems to know.

That's why the Ministry of Education has set aside $500,000 to investigate. And report back in May. Maybe.

In the meantime school budgets will suffer, school payroll staff will suffer, and individual teachers will suffer, in missed family benefit payments and Kiwisaver contributions. And for some their whole pay. And now we learn it could take two years to fix everything.

It's just all so unfair. Surely it represents a breach of contract with school staff.

And sitting as we are a million miles from Wellington, we can only shake our heads.

Shake our heads that so-called experts can't get this right over five years and with $30 million at their disposal.

Shake our heads that some red flags were raised before implementation, but none was deemed to be a show stopper. But come on, 147 flags?

Imagine being at that meeting.

"Right, potential problem number one, we're not quite sure all the data is accurate, but it's not a show stopper?"

Eight hours later: "Potential problem number 147, if anyone rings us with a problem, we probably haven't got the staff to man the phones, but it's not a show stopper.

"Okay, that's it, everybody happy, let's go."

Seriously? No one stood back and said, "don't all those flags add up to a show stopper?".

School staff are irate, but general taxpayers deserve to be miffed also. That's a lot of money down the drain and more to follow.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing is we want to be mad at someone, but don't know who to be mad at. It won't fix anything, but isn't it time for some people to fall on swords?

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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