The company responsible for managing the country's education pay roll has fronted up on the huge number of mistakes made by the Novopay system.
School workers around the country have faced three months of pay botch ups since its introduction, with some not having been paid at all.
The chief executive of Novopay's provider, Talent2, has flown in from Sydney to combat issues with the system.
"I don't think for one minute this hasn't been stressful, we're truly sorry," John Rawlinson said.
He said the company had also paid a price for the mistakes.
"We haven't been paid anything near $30 million so far."
At least 180 primary school principals have sent invoices to the Ministry of Education totalling more than $600,000.
Cognition Education chief executive Terry Bates said the company knew at the time of implementation that the pay roll was one of the biggest in the country.
Bates said there were a number of influences that came into the decision to terminate previous provider Multiserve when Talent2 won the contract.
"Suffice to say, we took it seriously enough to walk away from a piece of business that had previously been very profitable for us."
Bates said the company realised the stress it had caused people.
"We take no pleasure in watching this mess unfold, because we know the pressure it's putting on colleagues in schools."
The ministry assured sector leaders at a meeting today that progress had been made in fixing Novopay.
Speaking with representatives from the NZ School Trustees' Association, NZ Principals' Federation and PPTA, Education Secretary Lesley Longstone said both the Ministry and Talent2 were committed to getting the system right.
"I reassured the meeting the ministry is working very hard with Talent2 to get this right and that we recognise school administrators have also been working incredibly hard to make this work," said Longstone.
Rawlinson attended the meeting and said he was confident of delivering a system that will make a positive difference for schools.