I was driving to school this morning and something amazing happened. The Ministry of Education ripped in to Talent2. Some of you usual readers will be a bit stunned. What? The ministry? And I say to you, “Yes! That very same ministry you are thinking of!”
First things first. The item I was listening to on Morning Report happened just before the 7.30am news. As a programme the seem to have been doing just as well as Campbell Live with their extended coverage of the ongoing payroll
issue debacle catastrophe. The most important thing to mention about the interview today. No Lesley Longstone. No Craig Foss. No Hekia Parata. The woman interviewed was a “Group Manager (I am unclear on what one of these people does – manager suggests some kind of control? Maybe of a group?)” at the ministry Rebecca Elvy. I suggest you listen because the language being used by Elvy marks what I believe is a sea-change in the way the Ministry of Education is talking about Novopay operators Talent2.
- There will be an independent inquiry into the Novopay system early in the new year. The word ‘independent’ excites me. Hopefully they will look into everything.
- Elvy was critical of John Rawlinson from Talent2 whose spin-speak last week implied that it school admin staff were partly responsible. That comment from Rawlinson infuriated the DP at my school who is now the official Novopay data entry clerk (she pretty much does nothing else now).
- At no point during the entire interview did I have to carefully think about what Elvy was saying and quickly translate it into plain English before she started on her next answer. She sounded normal. Completely normal like she’d never talked to anyone in PR ever. This is in stark contrast to her big boss Hekia Parata who has the ability to make people want to rip their ears off because all she needs to do is answer “yes” or “no” but has instead said something like, “Insofar as my advisors have informed me, and as we look forward to the future ahead, and review any past futures that have yet to occur, it is becoming evident to me that it would be premature to answer your question without further looking into the issues that the honourable member has raised in a way that would allow me to answer the question forthrightly. Or words to that effect Mr. Speaker.”
So finally, after months of trying to defend their installation of a system that just can’t handle the job it was sold to do, the Ministry of Education has given up their line of excuses. About time. There is nothing worse in politics than a politician or public servant trying to defend something that is going utterly pear-shaped.
Take John Banks for example. He came back into parliament at the end of last year after doing a secret deal with John Key (which both men defended) and then had to defend himself against all sorts of drip-fed wonders from that fantastic German party-boy Kim Dotcom. The thing was if he’d just come clean about what was said on the teapot tape AND just told us everything about Dotcom right at the front. Instead he got on his high horse, defended his position and has ultimately come out of the whole think looking like an ignorant, rich, out-of-touch imbecile who cares about John Banks and nobody else. It’s always the cover-up that gets them.
Anyway, back to Novopay. The first course of action the ministry took was to try to defend the system. Enhancing the positive – we’ve had over 80,000 successful payments, rather than the negative of nearly 10,000 errors. Now they’ve gone the other way. They must be thanked – criticised for taking so long, but thanked for finally doing the right thing. Although in saying that Rebecca Elvy has given a statement to John Campbell which has highlighted the fact that, “92,000 payments went through successfully,” so maybe I spoke too soon.
Novopay is a complete nonsense. It was mis-sold to the Ministry of Education by an Australian company who believed their own PR hype and thought they were up to the job, but clearly weren’t. We found out on the weekend that the new NZ Post payroll is operated by Talent2 and that also collapsed in a screaming heap as soon as it was launched with problems continuing for months. The fact that this didn’t alert people at the Ministry of Education before they accepted the Talent2 tender is beyond me. Mind you, Wellington is a pretty big city and all those government departments and SOE head offices must be miles from each other…
The people we elect to spend our tax money need to be a bit more careful. Don’t just pick the cheapest option.
But a big thanks needs go to the retail banks of New Zealand who are featured on Campbell Live tonight as offering free overdrafts to teachers who’ve missed payments or gone into the red because of the debacle. At least someone is helping. It would be nice if that someone was from the government.
Hopefully we all get our end of year pay when that comes through in a couple of weeks.
Good luck everyone!