19 Feb 2013

Ministers apologise over Novopay

4:03 pm on 19 February 2013

Education Minister Hekia Parata has offered a limited apology over the Novopay debacle, saying she is sorry for the inconvenience it has caused.

However, she stopped short of apologising for her role in signing off on the deal with the Australian operator Talent2.

The school payroll system, worth $100 million over 10 years, has been plagued with thousands of errors since it was introduced in August last year, with underpayments, overpayments or no payments at all to some teaching staff.

Ms Parata earlier on Tuesday refused to offer any apology, saying she had acted according to official advice, but in the afternoon said she was sorry for the extra work caused for administrators.

The minister in charge of Novopay, Steven Joyce, said he is sorry for the difficulties that have occurred as a result of the problems with the payroll system.

However, Finance Minister Bill English, one of three ministers who approved the Novopay contract, said he would not apologise.

Mr English said the focus now is not on blame, but on making sure that everyone is paid properly.

Prime Minister John Key also does not see any need to apologise.

A ministerial inquiry into the introduction of Novopay is continuing, as well as a technical audit to solve lingering problems.