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Parata blames 'karma' after Ministry of Education staff miss pay day

Published: 4:09PM Wednesday January 30, 2013 Source: ONE News

Education Minister Hekia Parata says it is "karma" Ministry of Education staff have not been paid as they are forced to deal with on-going problems with teaching payroll provider Novopay.

Parata was questioned about the glitch in Parliament today, after her staff missed their pay day due to a suspected server problem.

"Yeah Karma eh," Parata replied.

A ministry spokeswoman confirmed its staff were due to be paid today, but were not. She would not confirm the reason for the glitch.

Labour's acting education spokesperson said Parata's comment is "outrageous" and is calling on Prime Minister John Key to force her to apologise.

"Hekia Parata might think she is being cute by suggesting her own officials deserve not to be paid because of the Novopay stuff-up, but I doubt Ministry workers are laughing," Hipkins said.

"How would Hekia Parata feel if she didn't get paid until Novopay was working? Now, that would be karma."

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Hipkins said Key should take responsibility for Parata's "stuff-ups" after he chose to keep her on as Minister of Education in the recent cabinet reshuffle.

Ministry of Education staff have been at the forefront of dealing with school administrators and principals over problems with teachers' pay since August last year.

Family dealing with a "double-blow"

A lower North Island teacher, who did not want to be named, said that after dealing with his Novopay issues, the family had been dealt another blow after his wife, who worked for the Ministry of Education, was not paid today.

"Now with my wife not being paid as well, it's sort of adding insult to injury really," he said.

His wife was told when she arrived at work that there was a server problem which meant that pay for the whole ministry had not gone through overnight. They hoped to be paid tomorrow.

Ministry staff were usually paid on alternative weeks to teaching staff, he said.

"In the face of what's currently happening, it's all that the ministry needs is another pay glitch somewhere," the teacher said.

"It will no doubt be an embarrassment for them."

A Public Service Association spokeswoman confirmed the union had heard there was a payroll issue within the ministry, but it was due to be fixed by tomorrow.