Caretaker's $102m pay packet

By Mark Price

Ronnie Moffat jokes he may go out and spend the overpayment. But he really hopes the money doesn't show up in his bank account. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Ronnie Moffat jokes he may go out and spend the overpayment. But he really hopes the money doesn't show up in his bank account. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Meet the $102 million caretaker. Having been underpaid $110 each week since the introduction of the Novopay payroll system, Ronnie Moffat of Mt Aspiring College in Wanaka has now learned he's in line for a $102,772,800 holiday pay packet.

The balance suddenly swung in Mr Moffat's favour when he decided to use up some leave.

He applied for 26 days' holiday pay and when he received his education services payslip, found it showed an hourly rate of $658,800.

Normally Mr Moffat, who works a six-hour day, is paid $16.09 an hour.

He cannot understand how the ministry calculated his new hourly rate, which did not appear to have been simply a mistake in the placement of a decimal point.

Mr Moffat joked yesterday about how he might spend the over-payment but actually hoped the money did not appear in his bank account today.

"I don't want it to go in because it will just be a lot of trouble. But it's totally bizarre."

Mr Moffat said he had seen reports in the media of mistakes with the new pay system, but none as big as his.

The school's executive officer, Helen Hammond, described the hourly rate on Mr Moffat's pay slip yesterday as "a nonsense" and was reasonably confident the new system would not pay out such a large sum.

"There have been some strange things happening in the pays but I think if it was something as bizarre as that it would get picked up. Hopefully.

"I'm sure they've got checks and balances in their system that would pick up something as large as that."

Ms Hammond noted the hourly rate anomaly was not carried over into the main calculations on the payslip - which shows holiday pay of $0.00.

Her reading of Mr Moffat's payslip led her to believe he would get his holiday pay but not the huge amount suggested by the hourly rate figure, and she had not brought this particular error to the ministry's attention.

"I think all we can do is wait and see what actually comes through in his pay."

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said yesterday that Mr Moffat "definitely" would not be paid that amount.

Some payslips, she said, had been inaccurate because of processing errors and the ministry was "working hard to ensure these errors are corrected".


Big rise

$16.09 hourly rate - actual wages

$658,800 hourly rate - Novopay bungle

$102m of holiday pay

- Otago Daily Times

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