Who are the Experts on the Novopay Governance Board?

I wrote to the Ministry of Education seeking information on the Novopay Governance Board Members. This Board is made up of Ministry and Talent2 management along with some “Payroll Experts” from the private sector.  The Ministry is being extremely protective of this group and I have uploaded a copy of their response.


Experience has taught me that when any person or organisation works so hard to keep a secret there’s usually an embarrassing reason behind it.  Needless to say my suspicions are working overtime.  Maybe the experts aren’t so expert and the question would then be what were they doing there.  If anyone can enlighten me please use the comments section or email me at rob.m.owen@gmail.com .  Needless to say I have written to the Ombudsman requesting assistance

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: complaint regarding the Ministry of Education and Novopay

There is little doubt that both the Minister and the Ministry have misled both parliament and the public with statistics and details of this project. If Novopay were a public company the information I have requested would be publicly available I see no reason why this publicly funded organisation should be treated any differently.

Also of concern is that the Ministry is trying to manipulate reporting on the project by delaying the release of information to prevent accurate and timely reporting. The request I made was for information that should have been immediately available delaying this till the maximum period allowed by the Act serves only the Ministry’s self-interest and is against, I believe, Parliaments intention regarding freedom of information and the intention of the act.

Public expectation of our public service is of honesty and integrity, the only threat to any organisations Political neutrality is if they don’t operate neutrally.  Public interest on publicly funded projects certainly outweighs any protection that should be offered to any political or public service organisation seeking to minimise responsibility.

Individuals who present themselves as experts or specialists in projects that are publicly funded should expect when these projects fail to deliver the promised results to have their credentials and remuneration examined. The public interest in the investment of public money should always outweigh any privacy issues for work performed in the public arena.

This has been a very expensive project involving public expenditure approaching $30m and the result has affected many thousands of New Zealanders. A copy of the Ministry of Educations response is attached I am seeking clear and concise answers to the questions asked.

Yours faithfully,

Rob Owen

7 Responses to “Who are the Experts on the Novopay Governance Board?”

  1. I run my own payroll consulting business, over the weekend a friend from NZ mentioned to me the issues currently surrounding the me payroll system implemented for NZ ministry of education.

    After doing my own research this story sounds all too familiar with a similar scenario which plagued the QLD health department back home here in Australia, in fact it’s an identicle situation.

    My question is why we’re none off the volumes of errors detected during parallel payruns?


    • Because there were no parallel runs this would be the most incompetent implementation in NZ history and teething problems you would expect to be corrected before the next payroll round this is much more serious and the problems are now embedded. The only thing proven so far is that Ministry staff are prepared to lie to protect their own interests.


      • …who said there were no parallel runs? Ask the Ministry if they knew of the likely error rate and what the acceptable error rate was for the decision to go-live.


        • the Ministry themselve apparently the size was to big. it is impossible to get straight answers from the Ministry I’m waiting to see how the Ombudsman’s office gets on. So much for open government.


  2. I am surprised. These days Payroll packages are like commodities and low cost.

    We are told that teacher pay is complex. Does it need to be so complex?


    • I agree with you the most complex area of the payroll would be the way sick leave is calculated. As to the size of the payroll I don’t see this as an issue, if every type of pay on the system could be paid correctly in a 1 person payroll then it just a case of getting a faster machine to handle the size. The ministry could have gone for a much cheaper distributed system that ran in the schools and sent files for collation centrally. I’m at a loss to see where the millions went on Novopay. But don’t see the current problems as teething issues but as entrenched problems that can be corrected going forward but will remain for the past transactions. Lesley Longstone is looking a lot like a one trick pony bought in to introduce charter schools and lacking the skills to lead the Ministry as a whole. The willingness of the Minister and Ministry staff to provide misleading and dishonest answers and statistics relating to the Novopay system and the oppositions acceptance of this is astounding. Perhaps if the Ministers (Parata and Foss) and the Secretary of Education were to forgo payment of their salaries until all the Novopay issues were resolved they would see not getting the correct payment as more than a minor annoyance. I find it hard to believe that an exceptional NZ candidate could not be found for the position of Secretary of Education and believe that strong leadership is needed now and the search should be on for a replacement that can rebuild trust and the credibility of the Ministry.


  3. I wrote to the Ministry of Education seeking information on the Novopay Governance Board Members


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