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NRT: Rewarding failure

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, September 18th, 2013 - 17 comments
Categories: business, Economy, Steven Joyce, welfare - Tags: ,

no-right-turnWhat seems to be the defining feature of this government is in providing corporate welfare to incompetents who underbid their competition for government work or want bigger subsidies at the taxpayers expense. Give them the vaguest excuse and Key or Joyce will wilt like a flower in a desert and throw money at companies who don’t need it. No Right Turn examines another one

Last year Novopay royally fucked up the education payroll, leaving some teachers unpaid for months. So naturally National is giving them more money

The Government is pushing an extra $6 million into ensuring there are no new glitches with the Novopay system when the calender year ticks over to 2014.

Minister for Novopay Steven Joyce said the transition between years was always tricky.


“To ensure a much better result this year, ministers have agreed to put in an additional $5 million towards fixing outstanding technical issues plus $1 million for comprehensive end of year/start of year system training for Novopay support staff and school payroll administrators.

So basicly we’re paying them again to do stuff they should have got right the first time. This, apparently, is the “discipline of the free market”.

Bullshit. Its rewarding failure. If you or I fucked up that badly, people wouldn’t be there with another briefcase of cash. We’d be fired. And the same should happen to Novopay. Either they do the job they’re paid to do, to the standards we expect, or we get someone else to do it. It’s that simple.

17 comments on “NRT: Rewarding failure”

  1. aerobubble 1

    Recently there was a science story in the media, about how cancer can be traced back to alterations in DNA caused by specific chemicals in the environment. That just by reading the DNA of a cancer cell and the likely chemical that caused it. I say this because it will expose incompetent CEOs today who undermine shareholder value when they now fail to fund potential cancer causes from their companies activities. Like the 60 minutes program that suggests that the dispersal agents used in aftermath of the clean up of the mexico gulf spill were causing widespread cancers.

    Just imagine for a moment your competitor fully explaining to shareholders the potent risks from their activities and how they are moving quickly away from the risk, as compared to the potential liability from court actions in the future, by shareholders, of executives who did nothing to protect their investment and act properly when in charge of the companies.

    Labour, I hope will not only attack National on the obvious crony capitalism but also the less obvious that will accelerate good green and social practices in the board rooms. Lazy, simpleminded jingoistic, weak right wingers in positions of power in private and government should be expose for their short term profiit seeking mentalities at the cost of not only themselves, but future profits, social well being and green outcomes.

    its just nonsense to suggest that profits at the expense of the environment, or society in general, is either good government, good for the economy or good for shareholders. Its just dumb and lazy.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    There was recently a software testing conference in Wellington. A co-worker went to it and said there was someone who obviously worked on the Novopay project (they weren’t allowed to confirm it). From what he said, Talent2 effectively replaced the competent testers that were finding bugs and saying the system wasn’t ready for go-live with cheaper incompetent testers that weren’t able to find bugs, hence giving the impression that the system was in better condition than it was.

    • tc 2.1

      There is way too much of this going on, I hear chorus also have their hand out for many millions to govt for systems they now want paid for on top of all we currently hear.

      The sort of systems they possibly could have put in over the last 20 years but chose dividends instead.

    • lprent 2.2

      That sounds extremely likely. You have to love managers as ‘efficient’ as that…

      I always remember the manager I had in the 90’s who discovered the wonders of outsourcing. He wanted to get a group of ‘cheap’ students to do the actual coding for a protocol. It was to be based on a document that I prepared based on some mildly ropey tech specs from an equipment suppliers. Must have been happy and underworked students. They got paid, had work experience, and did a nearly perfect job.

      Because along with the document, I also gave them the second and third parts of macro I’d prepared. The first part pulled the specs into a word document using vba. The second part wrote the code, which was my own validation step for the document’s accuracy. The third part was the make file that compiled hundreds of generated files. And of course I’d already done that because a compiler is excellent at finding typos and structural problems.

      I tried to tell him it was a false economy…. That to produce a document that students could code from, I had to make it to a machine standard. If it was a machine standard, then a machine could write the actual code. I believe it was for some corporate political argument like the one you’re describing.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        That sounds very strange, to be honest.

        I think we’ve recently dodged a bullet here. A very senior engineer, having built a prototype of a very important new technology in our market, was proposing we hire students to start on a production version of the feature over summer. On the unlikely luck the students actually managed to produce something worth keeping, they’d all leave and take the knowledge with them…

        Luckily there is now increased focus on the feature and so we’re going to be doing it with regular staff.

        • lprent

          I thought it was strange as well. That was when (and in a large part why) I stopped working for corporates.

          I’ve mostly found that students need to learn how not to be sloppy when dealing with code. They have a bad habit of producing interesting but unworkable systems. But we have in several companies done some research projects with some post-grads (engineering and compsci) in particular areas, and then re-engineer the ideas. So far that process seems to work

          • RJL

            As an engineering academic, my experience has been that if a company wants real value out of student projects, then the company generally needs to have a really clear (and realistic) idea of what they want the students to do — which makes sense, students are effectively ultra-junior “staff” so they need proper supervision.

            Students can also be used successfully at the early stages of a project to explore alternative options. But here the company needs to understand that the student outputs may be of little direct value and what is of value will need to be thoroughly reworked (and re-evaluated) before implementation.

  3. fender 3

    Mr Fix-it could be renamed Dr Fix-it ; shooting up the fiends with their regular cash injections from the National Party blue lady

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Look out for the Too Big to Fail excuse in 5, 4, 3, 2,…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Actually, you’ll find that the problem is that the government, despite paying out millions, doesn’t actually own the code and thus can’t get another, competent, firm to fix it.

      • aerobubble 4.1.1

        Chorus contracts should have a clause, since digging holes is hardly rocket science, that the government can re-tender them.

        SkyCity got a license extension and the conference center contract, so instead of tendering for either it got to win both. That’s not incompetence, that’s outright corrupt government in my opinion.

        Rio Tinto doesn’t need the money, Key essentially is saying that the Southland economy isn’t capable of standing on its own, its weak government.

  5. tracey 5

    Which wld be a failure of those negotiating the contract on behalf of teachers…. which I believe was labour.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1

      Assumption 1: that nothing that has happened since 2008 has contributed to the problem.
      Assumption 2: that a Labour led government would have gone live with unsolved issues.

  6. tracey 6

    agreed oak, but when to go live would be an event after the contract was written and signed, ergo any punishment clauses would already exist to deal with future foreseeable issues. a term is either in a contract or not, your 2 assumptions wouldnt change the content of the contract

  7. aerobubble 7

    Banks argued for Charter Schools, and now it looks like the tail can only be helped by extreme religious schools (as oppose to mainstream religious schools) and militrary schools, that actually won’t target the tail to any real degree. It looks like Banks just wanted his party to get its hands on education funds and young impressionable kids. Actual chance of turning the tail in education around, zilch.

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