As more and more teachers report problems with their pay, the minister in charge of fixing the Novopay mess has today announced details of a new temporary payroll system.
Steven Joyce today called a press conference to explain the steps being taken by the government to address the crisis.
He gave an assurance that the government was working hard to fix the problems with Novopay.
“The current system has clearly got some issues,” said Mr Joyce.
“The whole thing is buggered, teachers are suffering extreme hardship, and school administration staff are at breaking point,” Joyce said.
“But let’s give the hardworking people at Talent2 some credit. From all reports they’ve done some amazing things with the décor at their Australian head office.”
Mr Joyce said the system was working well, apart from the bits of it that were not.
“If you look at the bigger picture, factor in the usual issues that arise with these big IT projects, and then blame Labour for everything else, then really there’s no cause for panic or alarm.”
He said the government was looking at the possibility of taking Novopay offline for a short time, in order to give Talent2 time to sort out all the bugs in the system.
“Again, this is perfectly normal. It’s standard practice for IT systems to have scheduled maintenance periods, when you can’t access their services for short periods. But we’re talking about a period of no more than four or five years, and some of that will be night-time.
“And while Novopay is down we’ll be rolling out as new temporary system.”
Mr Joyce said he was confident the government was ready to move quickly to provide any temporary system that might be needed.
“We can move very quickly with the resources we have,” said Mr Joyce. “We won’t require much IT infrastructure, and the personnel we need are already highly trained for the job.
“We’ve got the army on stand-by, and they’re ready to provide the trucks and men we’ll need.
"The plan is for them to drive around all the main cities and towns of the country. They’ll use loudspeakers to ask if any teachers are in the vicinity, while throwing money off the sides of their trucks."
Mr Joyce said they would improvise where the terrain of the country made truck access a challenge.
“In the more inaccessible areas we’ll just drop the money down by plane. If we sprinkle enough loose fifty dollar notes about I’m sure some of it will get to the right place.”
Mr Joyce acknowledged that the temporary payroll system would not be perfect.
“It won't be a magic bullet. But it will be a step forward. Throwing money randomly off the sides of trucks will work out cheaper than the existing Novopay system. And it will certainly be more reliable.”