It is now more than a year since National Party troubleshooter Steven Joyce was sent into the Education Ministry to sort out Novopay.

Issues with the $26 million payroll system still exist but in fairness to him, it was not an easy assignment.

A technical review of the system last year revealed the scale of the problem: 526 defects, 49 of which were classified as very serious, 320 serious, 115 moderate and 42 "cosmetic".

These glitches led to teachers being both underpaid and overpaid.


As reported in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, school staff in the Bay have been overpaid more than $600,000 since the deficient payroll system was introduced in 2012.

Wrong payments have affected 631 local school staff since Novopay's introduction in 2012, with 86 staff underpaid and 545 overpaid, new figures show.

The amount underpaid was $151,175 and $639,574 had been overpaid. Almost half of this money, $301,818, had been paid back to the Ministry of Education.

The Government says collecting the large number of outstanding overpayments is a priority.

It acknowledges that the people affected have been overpaid through no fault of their own but the money, sourced from taxpayers, does need to be repaid.

It is clear that the system is still far from perfect but the consensus among Bay educators is that it is improving.

Kaka Street Special School principal Barrie Wickens says the school is now dealing with one error per pay period before adding there is no confidence in the system.

That view is to be expected. Why would you trust a system that has caused so much chaos?


Mr Joyce deserves some kudos for working his way through the Novopay debacle but the real credit belongs to the teachers who put their students' needs ahead of their own frustrations.

It is unlikely any other industry would respond in such a measured way and continue to work despite the on-going issues.