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Did we just hear Steven Joyce sh*t all over his colleagues?!?!

Written By: - Date published: 3:48 pm, February 1st, 2013 - 93 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, Hekia parata, Steven Joyce - Tags: , , ,

Reprinted with permission from Frankly Speaking.


Did we just hear Steven Joyce sh*t all over his colleagues?!?!

Government sticking with Novopay - for now

Full story

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Steven Joyce,

Steven Joyce revealed that Education Minister Hekia Parata, Finance Minister Bill English and former education minister Craig Foss approved the use of Novopay despite being told that it had bugs.”

See: IBID

In colloquial terms, that is what is known as ‘dropping someone in it’ – “it” being brown, smelly, and heading for waste-treament ponds.

Is there a civil war going on within National, comprising two factions with one led by technocrat Steven Joyce and the other by neo-liberal Bill English?

Or is there something even more disquieting going on within National’s ranks.

Joyce added,

There was definitely knowledge there were bugs at the outset of going live. But the advice of all involved was that the thing should proceed. I doubt they’d give the same advice today.

Noticeably, when queried by media, all three Ministers had similar responses – obviously coached by the same tax-payer funded Party spin-doctors and media-minders,

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Mr Fix-It has Novopay plan

See: Mr Fix-It has Novopay plan

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Hekia Parata

I think hindsight’s a wonderful thing....

Bill English

In hindsight....

And the tongue-tied Craig Foss,

Well in hindsight… is a benefit of hindsight...

See: IBID

You can always tell when a politician has been coached; they use the same words and phrases over and over again. Spin doctors/media-minders develop a mantra, and their clients are expected to learn and parrot it, by rote. It takes a skilful journalist/interviewer to peel away the carefully-crafted coaching and get to the truth.

This indicates that Parata, English, and Foss had been pre-warned of Joyce’s press conference and admission of the three Minister’s actions.

So is this some sort of carefully managed internecine warfare?

Or a very subtle, clever strategy to neutralise possible Opposition disclosures in Parliament?

Joyce’s statements that there will be on-going problems with Novopay could be seen as an attempt to minimise future media reports on Novopay errors.After all, if National admits that there will be ongoing problems – does that make it news when it happens?

Whichever is the case, this is Steven Joyce at his most cunning, and the Opposition will need to be on their toes. As will the media, if they are not to be out-manouvered by National’s “Mr Fix It”.

“Mr Fix It” does not apply to sorting out computerised pay systems. “Mr Fix It” fixes political messes.

This certainly qualifies as the Mother of all Messes.

Addendum

As is common with National, Joyce attempted to shift blame onto advisors/bureacrats/Uncle Tom Cobbly, when he stated,

There was definitely knowledge there were bugs at the outset of going live. But the advice of all involved was that the thing should proceed…

My bet is that we will never, ever see this “advice”.

93 comments on “Did we just hear Steven Joyce sh*t all over his colleagues?!?! ”

  1. McFlock 1

    yeah, I double-looked at that, too.

    It certainly doesn’t hurt the theory of a “joyce for leader” move being prepped,

  2. Andre 2

    100 million dollars project . Time for John Key wheel out the guillotine. Maybe more than one?

  3. BM 3

    None of these ministers are IT software experts.
    Their decision to go ahead with the launch of Nova pay would have been strictly on the advice of talent 2 and the MOE.
    If talent 2 and the MOE said there’s a few bugs” but it shouldn’t be an issue, these ministers hardly have the knowledge it question the advice given to them.

    Terrible attempt at trying to deflect the blame from labour and the MOE onto national.

    • So Labour is to blame?

      Did Helen Clark by mind control force the three to sign the project off even though it was apparent it was not working properly. A labour minister would have felt compassion for the teachers and told Talent to get it right. It is obvious the tories did not give a dam.

      Terrible attempt at trying to deflect the blame from National onto anyone else.

      • QoT 3.1.1

        Did Helen Clark by mind control force the three to sign the project off even though it was apparent it was not working properly

        Jesus, micky, we don’t talk about H1’s paranormal abilities on unsecured channels!

      • dumrse 3.1.2

        For fucks sake, Liebor entered into a contract knowing T2 would require reprogramming to cater for excessive number of salary groups and grades.

    • McFlock 3.2

      terrible attempt at trying to defend incompetent ministers.

      If they didn’t understand what they were signing, why did they have the job?

      • BM 3.2.1

        You expect ministers to be experts in pay roll software?

        • Andre 3.2.1.1

          You would expect them to read the info given to them, now released. To see as the trial processed it was making a bigger mess every cycle is was run .Even you might think thats not good?

        • mickysavage 3.2.1.2

          I expect ministers to be functionally more sophisticated than amoeba, especially given their salaries.

        • McFlock 3.2.1.3

          I would expect them to read “seven of the eight criteria associated with Confidence Point Two have been met, or are close to being met.”and ask “so how many actually work? We’re not going to go live until all criteria have been met, are we?

          And maybe say “so when we say ’10 level two software defects”, what actually are those? That sounds like it might be serious. Could we, oh, maybe resolve ALL defects before proceeding?”.

          It’s not an IT issue. It’s a minister’s job to know the difference between “everything works, recommend we proceed” and “well, everything works or at least almost works, I’m sure it’ll be fixed by the golive date, recommend we proceed”.

          • mickysavage 3.2.1.3.1

            Agreed McFlock. Coincidentally I had a squiz at the report and was drawn to that exact phrase and the fact that 10 level two bugs were in existence, see 6.1. It makes you wonder if the Ministers actually read the report and if so what they thought when they read those paragraphs.

            • One Tāne Huna 3.2.1.3.1.1

              “thought”?

              You’re being too bloody charitable by half. If wingnuts could “think” they wouldn’t espouse so many faith-based policies.

              Edit: PS: @Andre: *lose *too.

        • bad12 3.2.1.4

          NO, we expect Ministers to take full responsibility for the decisions they make, those 3 Minister English,Parata, and Foss all knew there were bugs in the system yet still allowed the system to go live,

          Did the 3 ministers concerned order the bugs be identified and fixed befor they allowed a faulty system to be used, NO, the 3 of them should resign…

        • mike 3.2.1.5

          See mickeysavage at 6.1 below. For the six-figure salaries that they get I expect them to be more then unquestioning “looks good to me” rubber stampers of reports that contain dodgy dogshit like that.

        • shaz 3.2.1.6

          I was looking for the irony tag on your earlier comment but by golly you are in earnest.

    • tc 3.3

      ‘None of these ministers are IT software experts’ nor finance, education, etc for that matter.

      Irrelevant, you take the pay and the role then your taking the responsibility.

      MOE/Novopay aren’t independant so a readiness assessment should be sighted done by someone with nothing to lose if it’s not ready. They seek these in large enterprises before a major rollout, that soon flushes the shite out.

      To say go based on the vendor/ministry shows how incompetant these clowns are at what the real world is all about.

      Payroll is a mission critical application that has to be 100% , 100% of the time. Unless you don’t care about your teachers and the extra stress this places on them.

      I don’t know of any exec that would allow a payroll system with bugs going live, especially with a good contract around what you get for the $$$$.

      Watch rat cunning Joyce get maximum value out of this.

    • Terrible attempt at trying to deflect the blame from labour and the MOE onto national.

      Question for future reference, BM: Is there a Use-By date for the “Blame Labour” option, after which National and it’s supporters will,

      (a) Find another scapegoat

      (b) Actually take responsibility for your own actions?

      You know – the same responsibility you demand from everyone else.

      Just asking.

      Because, y’know, if you keep pointing the finger at Labour now and forever, maybe National should call an early election. If Labour has to take responsibilty, they should have the opportunity to set things right.

      Again, just saying.

      • georgecom 3.4.1

        Fair go Frank. Once again we have you requiring National MPs to be responsible for their actions. That was NEVER part of the deal so why raise such unrealistic expectations how.

        Gees, next you’ll be saying that John Banks should resign.

        And, before you raise it as a defence, we were never supposed to take seriously comments about requiring ‘higher standards of his ministers’.

  4. Colonial Weka 4

    “Did we just hear Steven Joyce sh*t all over his colleagues?!?!”

    I guess it’s kind of inevitable when you live on a planet with no toilets.

    • Andre 4.1

      Mr Foss for scapegoat then. Hekia must stay and be helped by labour, as she will destroy her own party.

      • David H 4.1.1

        Or Key kept Parata around, just for this very public blame game and a very public execution.

  5. mike 5

    Ah hindsight. Yes, um, if we’d known that this would be such a disaster then we wouldn’t have done it now would we? So STFU.

    • Thanks Handle.

      I just did something that BM I am sure has not done. I looked at the go live report.

      The go live decision was on June 5. At that date there were 147 identifed bugs, 10 of them significant and the report says “seven of the eight criteria associated with Confidence Point Two have been met, or are close to being met”. Obviously one criteria was not met and was not even close to being met.

      If I was the Minister I would have sent it back and told them to get the bugs sorted and all the criteria met.

      The report is at http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/NovopayProject/TestingNovopay/GoLive/EdReportFinalRecommendationV1.pdf

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        snap

      • mike 6.1.2

        “seven of the eight criteria associated with Confidence Point Two have been met, or are close to being met”

        Got to love the Welly-wording there.

        Novopay: Ah yes minister, um, 7/8 of the work is done. When I say ‘done’ what I mean is that it might be finished, or an unstated amount of it might be an unstated amount of distance away from being finished.

        Minister: Very impressive.

        • mickysavage 6.1.2.1

          Even worse than that Mike. One possibility is that only one of the criteria was met, 6 of them close to have being met and one of them definitely was not even close to have been met.

          • mike 6.1.2.1.1

            “seven of the eight criteria associated with Confidence Point Two have been met, or are close to being met”

            As written this statement does not categorically claim that ANY of the criteria have been met.

            If I know 7 people who each have $900,000 and I say “These 7 people are millionaires, or close to being millionaires,” I’m not wrong.

    • Hmmm, maybe someone ion the Ninth Floor read my blogpost? *laffs*

  6. fenderviper 7

    Mr Fix It almost looked human on the news last night, it could have been that he had earlier shat his pants causing him to walk in a dejected manner, but he certainly didn’t look like he would be able to live up to his new fix it title. He might be better at making dead bodies disappear than fixing no pay. Good on him for exposing the fools too quick to sign it off, but I just wish they would admit they were looking forward to hitting the teachers in this dirty way because they had failed to get results from their previous bullying.

    • tc 7.1

      Joyce has no choice, it’s his job and unlike others this one isn’t a quick fix. Going back to Datacom is a very costly and embarrasing outcome if it comes to that and will not be done quickly without big $$$’s.

      Also talent2 penalties V bonus for meeting targets, is it financially beneficial for them to hit a date then soak up ill defined and hard to prove penalty clauses that probably have plenty of ‘outs’.

      Any job cuts in the puiblic service impact oversight and governance on delivery of such a large contract maybe.

      Systems rollouts don’t take prisoners, when they go wrong it’s often a body count. Who’s first dunnokeyo ?

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        But how many penalties actually kick in if the client (minister) signed off on the progress points and didn’t know that a level 2 software defect meant “broke-ass piece of crap”? Caveat emptor must come into play at some point.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.2

        Reading the docs one of T2’s main concerns was to be not found in breach of the agreement. They’re publicly listed on the ASX so they would have had to report.

        the government seems to have been pretty accommodating towards that concern. T2 was hinting at possible legal action if the govt found them to be in breach.

        The relationship, from as far back as april, between T@ and the govt is just fucked.

        • handle 7.1.2.1

          Is that also why Minister Joyce approved some extra money when Talent2 asked for it a couple of years ago? How embarrassing to be bullied by Australians.

        • Tim 7.1.2.2

          “T2 was hinting at possible legal action if the govt found them to be in breach”.

          @PB…. Deja vu INCIS

          Only diff is that the problems with THIS piece of spongueware are fundamental

          I wonder how many of the “IT professionals” involved with it are going to include T2/Novapay on their future C.V’s.

          I spose NAct could always get T2 involved in that Pulla Bent scheme for getting those dirty filthy beneficiary bludgers back into work. They could probably put them on the NovaPay Helpdesk – or even train them up to be programmers.

          They should be made to make all the code public (including change control comments with names of those responsible – that’s IF there is such a thing as part of this bugger’s muddle)

      • Fortran 7.1.3

        I understand from Wellington that Datacom do not want a bar of it.

        They were dropped, although officially unhappy, but quite pleased to gave got rid of it.

  7. Tiresias 8

    Government Ministers are paid large sums of money to show foresight, not hindsight.

    I see I was wrong the other day when I suggested the Government wouldn’t throw bucket-loads of tax-payer money into a back-up Plan B’ involving DataCom picking up the pieces for them. According to the “Stuff” report DataCom and NovaPay have already refused to work together to sort this one out so we’ll be paying DataCom to set-up a completely independent system just in case –

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8250237/Novopay-system-twice-delayed

    What has still to come out in the wash is what recourse the Crown is going to have against Talent2 for what appears to have been a completely unrealistic and optimistic undertaking, and this is entirely a matter of contract. As this contract was presumably negotiated and signed off by Labour you can expect Joyce to make a lot of play of any shortcomings in this regard.

    And I’m very much afraid that as usual the incompetents will walk away with their pockets stuffed with cash from the taxpayer.

    • I’m very much afraid that as usual the incompetents will walk away with their pockets stuffed with cash from the taxpayer.

      Are you talking about Talent or Blinglish, Foss and Parata?

      • Tiresias 8.1.1

        Hopefully Talent2’s reputation will be so damaged by this that they won’t be in the running to take over the payroll of a corner dairy. Of course the downside of that is that the directors and executives will hollow out the company over the next few months so that the Crown will be way down the list of creditors for compensation when it folds with less in its account that Zimbabwe, leaving the New Zealand tax-payer holding the bill for sorting out this stuff-up.

        I read that “four independent advisers – from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Social Development Ministry, the Primary Industries Ministry and the New Zealand Transport Agency – gave the system the green light.” Do you consider there is the remotest possibility Pricewaterhouse Coopers will refund any part of the no-doubt handsome fee it was paid for supervising this cock-up, or that any of the highly-paid public servants from the others will offer to take a reduction to the pay-grade of the pencil-pusher in a cubical farm three floors below who would not have done a worse job and would have been sacked had he done so?

        Blinglish Foss and Parata would simply resign if they had any integrity but they haven’t so they won’t. The egg on their faces is just part of the general coating of grubbiness and they won’t even feel it.

  8. North 9

    Senior Education Minister Parata deflects responsibility – “(smirking)…..hindsight”

    Associate Education Minister Foss deflects responsibility – “(shitting)…..hindsight”

    Parata’s “defence” sees her stay. Foss’s “defence” sees him go.

    What ?????

  9. Mike 10

    Yes, he shafted them, they’re not in his faction anyway, but at the same time as a Minister if you know bad information is going to come out, it’s much better to pre-emptively release it and present it your way so as to limit the damage

  10. shaz 11

    As far as new season of expensive focussed grouped weasle words “with hindsight” is joined by “talking down” as in “the oppostion are talking down New Zealand’s manufacturing industry”. Last seasons included “relaxed about” and “not ruling out” which were used to exhaustion.

    In the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann, he discusses how we humans are inclined to take bland reassuring information at face value nearly all of the time. The Nats advisors know this really well and our democracy is a dead man walking as too many of us are “relaxed about” rather than “thinking critically about” compounded with this sort of modern, scientifically researched peacetime propaganda.

    • mike 11.1

      Hence John Key’s immortal response to any and all criticism: “I’m not bovvered about it.”

    • Rogue Trooper 11.2

      Add It Up

    • Andre 11.3

      True . watched a debate on sky tv last night about Aussie election. Talking policy .four of the five were debating using political dogma and the fifth tried to expand on the subject with interesting policy detail and was met with looks of consternation …. Ms greeny was not welcome …. Sad

  11. RedLogix 12

    While I’m certain that there is any amount of finger pointing that could go on around Novapay, the core of the problem lies in the difference between the 30 year old Datacomm system and what Talent2 expected to deliver.

    In the old system Datacomm essentially hand-held school administrators and massaged all the data into the system. This was of course reasonably labour-intensive (read …expensive) and was behind the original, not unrealistic intention to migrate to a new system that was much cheaper to operate.

    Talent2’s offer was much cheaper, but failed to take into account not only the dynamic complexity of the old system … but the degree to which school support admin staff had been shielded from the system itself.. Talent2’s expectations around school admin staff being able to accurately enter information directly into the new Novapay system were hopelessly wrong. Worse still their system provided no simple way to correct the inevitable mistakes… nor anticipated the resources required to do so. And of course the Novapay software itself contributed errors and flaws of it’s own in that were incurred during process of scaling it up.

    When Talent2 realised that there was no way they were going to make any money on this project they did attempt to ‘de-scope’. I assume this means either renegotiating the targets, scope or price of the contract .. or backing out of the deal.. The Ministry flat-out refused. Which of course guaranteed a disaster. Forcing a contractor to deliver on something they cannot do without losing a great deal of money will ALWAYS result in a fuck-up.

    Of course Talent2 don’t emerge from this scot-free. They clearly underestimated how much work their system would need in order to cope with the complexity of the Education system. This is the sort of thing that does happen in contracts from time to time; and usually the first party to realise this is the contractor. They really don’t want to lose money and they’re highly motivated to find a way out of the trap they’ve signed up to; and most realistic commercial clients realise that forcing the issue is not going to have a happy ending. Usually the two parties finish up squabbling a bit, but eventually find a way through the mess.

    Not so when there is a political agenda at work.I believe that overarching pressure from the Cabinet to save money regardless of the consequences led the Ministry to push on with this contract long after the point when it should have been clear that a complete re-evaluation was necessary. This is a clear pattern of consequences we’ve already seen, first with the Foreign Ministry, then with the ‘civilisation’ of Defence and now with Education. (Credit to Tony Ryall for being a safe pair of hands in Health so far.)

    Ironically enough I happen to know that Datacomm have a nice new, state-of-the art Rolls-Royce of a payroll system ready to roll. Joyce knows this and is just getting all the ducks lined up to justify the dollars involved.

    • ak 12.1

      Who are the board. And why were they appointed, by whom. A screaming silence within the e3xcrement tornado.

      And gosh. look at those slippery-talking Talent 2 noses on Campbell Live tonight. Remind us of anyone?

      This is how we transfer wealth from bottom to top, boys and girls.

      Gain power by hatemongering via the media, which your friends own and control: maintain it via the same means.

      Joyce the Saviour. Holmes the God. Read all about it, live the Aotearoan Dream, and tread the path to neo-feudalism.

      Hate and Shearer-bash till you’re drunk: then wake up to the same, brand-new, same old day.

      Adolf didn’t fluke his cruel parody: it’s work, baby. Only treading those streets will make us free.

    • Humph 12.2

      Software vendor’s almost always underestimate RFPs (Requests for Proposals) for bigger projects to get their feet under the table with the money, then the PM, architects and analysts will underestimate again when they get into the details. Many I’ve experienced on both sides of the table, unless for smaller price work, use this tactic – and as you say, “finish up squabbling a bit, but eventually find a way through the mess.” – this is their business model for the bigger projects, otherwise they’d never get any work as someone will always undercut with outsourced dev, test etc to India et al.

      The contract winning process has failure built into it, as cheap never equals quality – or what you originally asked for.

      I’d argue that this happening “from time to time” is a lot more common than that (over 70%)… it’s just that, as you point out, this is political and in the many millions so it gets some publicity – most of them get swept under the carpet and the perpetrators are moved sideways internally or get another job. There are a number of projects in a number of ministries I’m aware of, that failed terribly or cost a shit ton more than first quoted. There’s a few more coming (that will probably never make the news) over the next 12 months too 🙂

    • Tiresias 12.3

      “Talent2′s offer was much cheaper, but failed to take into account not only the dynamic complexity of the old system … but the degree to which school support admin staff had been shielded from the system itself.. Talent2′s expectations around school admin staff being able to accurately enter information directly into the new Novapay system were hopelessly wrong.” – RedLogix

      True, but hopelessly wrong. It’s true that Datacom relied on school support admin staff to enter the details (disclosure – I’m married to a school admin staffer), but the system had been around long enough that most of the problems had been shaken out, school admin staff knew how the system worked and could work it and, most importantly, Datacom worked well with school admin staff if help was needed. Talent2’s looked to make the system more profitable for them, and cheaper for the Ministry, by off-loading even more of the work onto school-admin staff (paid out of the school’s bulk-grant with no compensation for the extra work) and tried to make it even cheaper for themselves by doing virtually nothing in the way of training school admin staff in the system, leaving them to pick it up and hoping any faults with the aircraft could be fixed once it was airborn and they showed up.

      “This is the sort of thing that does happen in contracts from time to time; and usually the first party to realise this is the contractor. They really don’t want to lose money and they’re highly motivated to find a way out of the trap they’ve signed up to; and most realistic commercial clients realise that forcing the issue is not going to have a happy ending.Usually the two parties finish up squabbling a bit, but eventually find a way through the mess. Not so when there is a political agenda at work.”

      It’s not uncommon in commercial negotiations for one tenderer to put in a super-low bid in the hope of getting the job and then, when things are sufficiently advanced to make cancellation not an option, to discover ‘unexpected’ problems requiring extra payments. Haven’t you ever employed a plumber? With taxpayer’s money on the table the Ministry are quite right to hold Talent2 to the contract they accepted and if Talent2 lose money on it tough, that’s business.

      “Forcing a contractor to deliver on something they cannot do without losing a great deal of money will ALWAYS result in a fuck-up.”

      True. The alternative, of course, is to let the contractor walk away with all the money it’s already been paid and start again from scratch with another contractor who has a fresh idea for a wheel – unless you have a contract with cast-iron revocation and claw-back clauses and a clear definition of what comprises a breach. If you haven’t your only option is to lean on the other party for performance and force it into a breach.

      • RedLogix 12.3.1

        Hump:

        Yes I’ve been on both sides of the contract table myself. I’ve learnt to abhor it; especially the infamous NZS 3910 form which is a recipe for the kind of thing you are talking about. Of course it is a complete myth that the standard form is the only form legally acceptable in common law. The parties are free to determine any arrangement that they mutually agree to. Unfortunately the contractual form everyone in this part of the world uses derives from a fundamentally confrontational mode of thinking designed to keep lawyers in business.

        Yet essentially any project of any kind is a collaborative process. The key thing to getting to a result is good project management. And this absolutely requires good information, good communication, early identification and resolution of issues and simple effective means for the parties to resolve problems .. or walk away.

        A sane business model is to build a relationship with your client in order to be confident of winning repeat business. I use a system of ‘preferred contractors’ who are reviewed every two years. Most of them have been with us for a very long time and deliver superb value for money. We write our own contracts and NZS3910 hasn’t darkened my desk for a very long time.

        Tiresas:

        On your first point I’m not quibbling. I think we’re saying much the same thing with a slightly different slant. What it boils down to is that Datacom used to have a lot of people, both within their organisation and within the schools who knew how to make the old beast work. If anything went wrong Datacom had the resources to fix it pretty seamlessly. Talent2 essentially screwed up at this point thinking they could dump all the admin costs onto school staff with minimal training or hand-holding.

        Realistically though the predatory contractural behaviour you describe is moderated by the fact that larger more mature vendors or contractors have a great deal of reputation and goodwill at stake in the marketplace. If they play that kind of hard-ball too often then pretty soon no-one will want to play with them … on any terms.

  12. Tim 13

    “Ironically enough I happen to know that Datacomm have a nice new, state-of-the art Rolls-Royce of a payroll system ready to roll. Joyce knows this and is just getting all the ducks lined up to justify the dollars involved.”

    Yep…. so let’s just cut all the crap, face-saving and ego exercising, and get it implemented as soon as possible.
    Oh no – but wait – face-saving and ego-exercising is far more important than those dirty filthy leftie teachers corrupting our kids who aren’t much better than all those dirty filthy bene bludgers that claim to be struggling. No – we better wait and deliberate a little longer. The fact that some teachers are having to deal with the likes of Baycorp as a result of this fiasco is far less important (And don’t get me started on how primitive some of Baycorp’s ‘systems and processes’ are!!!)

    • Andre 13.1

      And Mr Banks had a large share holding thru sugar corp via his trust. Pulled out mid 2012

    • Tiresias 13.2

      It’s not so simple, Tim.

      Talent2 were probably hoping that as it’s only taxpayer’s money “all that crap, face-saving and ego exercising” would have the Ministry throwing all the extra money it demanded at it to get the system working. Unfortunately for Talent2 Hekia Parata had so queered her pitch with the teachers that she could no-way have gotten away with it – as she tried to do.

      If the Government followed your advice Talent2 would claim the Crown was in breach of contract and try to negotiate a settlement giving it millions (of taxpayer’s money) for work done, no-doubt with additional claims for reputational damage on the grounds that the Crown didn’t give it a fair chance as some in the Ministry favoured Datacom &tc. It could all turn very nasty and legal and risk more taxpayer millions to fight out in court. In the meantime Datacom would be gobbling up more taxpayer millions with its “Rolls Royce” solution, knowing in negotiations that it has the Ministry over a barrel with there being no-one else able to offer a solution.

      It’s a mess for which Ministerial heads should roll, but from the taxpayer’s viewpoint the cheapest way out is to force Talent2 either to come up with what it promised at the price it offered, or throw up its hands and try to get out of the mess it’s in paying as little as possible while the Crown should screw it for every cent back it has had plus compensation for the ‘inconvenience’ it has caused teachers, the extra costs it has imposed on schools &tc.

      • Tim 13.2.1

        ‘usually’ I’d agree with you – except that in this case T2 has so demonstrably failed to deliver at every turb that the best they could hope for is a shitload of luck.
        Not really the point tho. I’m not sure that the contract actually OBLIGES them to use the system – especially as its unworkable – as it patently is. We’re talking about 6 months on now! – and as I said – with a record like that – good luck in any court case that might transpire. They could be hit on so many levels (like just for e.g., the bad faith they were threatening to throw at the customer after being unwilling to provide adequate helpdesk facilities to deal with an unworkable system they agreed to implement).
        No – we’re at a point now – if fact long past it, when throwing good money after bad is likely to be more costly than dealing with any court action – all of which is only going to show them up as shysters.
        You sound like someone I used to know btw looking at your comment. Someone maybe caught up in all that BS IT salesman-know-best; I-de-expert merry-go-round.
        Thank CHRIST I’m out of it. Bullshit and Jellybeans, heart attacks, hacks that keep turning up like bad pennies fuckup after fuckup isn’t actually worth it. You’ll find you can’t actually take it with you when you depart or pop your clogs, and even if you think you can – those that fawn all over you will get over you before the next iPhone is released.

  13. georgecom 14

    I seems to recall a comment from Joyce on the news last week along the lines of;

    Reporter: something about the people who signed off the package, Parata, English etc basically having cocked it up

    Joyce ‘they might be feeling a little silly (or words to that effect) at the moment’ or ‘they might be reflecting on their actions at the moment’.

    Essentially Joyce not bothering to argue with the reporter or defend his colleagues, but agreeing that whomever cocked things up will have to front for themselves.

    I did get the impression that Joyce has a bit of a ‘I don’t really care’ attitude, he just wants to try and find a solution to the mess. Any casualities are for Key and the casualities themselves to worry about.

  14. irascible 15

    Campbell did a great hatchet job on Campbell live tonight. The paper trail of ineptitude and a desirec to only provide the ministers with good news rather than revealing the true state of affairs showed that KeY must now take some responsibilty and dismiss the ministers responsible for such an enormous financial and policy cock up… starting with English, then Foss and finally and publically Parata.
    I look forward to Chris Hipkins eviscerating Key in the House tomorrow and then seeing the Cabinet being purged properly.
    If Key wont purge his cabinet then the responsible ministers should, in true parliamentary ritual, fall on their own swords and publicall tender their resignations.

    • emergency mike 15.1

      A) Key does the right thing.

      B) The ministers responsible do the right thing.

      C) Neither of the above.

    • karol 15.2

      I look forward to Chris Hipkins eviscerating Key in the House tomorrow and then seeing the Cabinet being purged properly.

      “Tomorrow”? Saturday?

      • irascible 15.2.1

        A decent press statement on Saturday followed up with the eviceration on Tuesday would do very well.

      • irascible 15.2.2

        The Novopay crash site is the responsibility of Key, Parrota, Fess, English and now Joyce. They are the Ministers responsible for allowing the obvious inability of Talent2 to deliver the contract as described in the heads of agreement negotiated by the MoE and accepted, on their advice, by Carter. The correspondence released on the Campbell Live show on Friday night showed that even those who’d recommended Talent2 get the payroll contract were getting antsy about the constant delays and threats around the contract. A competent Minister would’ve taken that concern and tension between the parties into account and refused to sign off on letting the system go live.

        Unfortunately, because this Cabinet only want to hear positive spin such a decision could never have happened.

        If Hipkins can continue to pressure those responsible we may yet see Key recognise that his great communicators are as irresponsible and inept as the public already know.

    • David H 15.3

      They won’t be back in the house until feb 12. So I’ll bet that Bennet or some other NACT will come up with something (More Bene Bashing) to take the heat off of that debacle.

      And as for Chippy eviscerating anybody. Thats a Tui moment in it’s self

  15. Skinny 16

    I wish someone within in Labour would shut that little man Chris Hipkins up. He walked straight into a media trap today. He stood there smiling too self absorbed to realize his mistake. Joyce will swat this Novopay mess up and pin it back as Labour fault in the first place.  

    • Tiresias 16.1

      “Joyce will swat this Novopay mess up and pin it back as Labour fault in the first place.” – Skinny

      If Labour didn’t do a competent job drawing up the contract for Novopay, providing for refunds and compensation if Talent2 failed to perform, he would be right to do so.

      Unfortunately two possible reasons for this having gone on for as long as it has are:

      a) the contract doesn’t, meaning that Crown in pulling the plug would lose millions,

      b) Dataco don’t (yet) have a suitable system to fill the gap and/or are using their position as the only available alternative to screw a gold-plated contract out of the Ministry.

      • Tim 16.1.1

        I hope you’re very very sure on “d)” above – I mean one that is unable to be quickly resurrected and can deliver in a manner that’s superior to NovaPay.

        • Tim 16.1.1.1

          Actually I take that back – only because the ego-exercising, the propensity to try and reinvent the wheel, the complete and utter bullshit that accompanies most large scale IT projects, the salespeople and flash Harrys that con people on the basis that they have the ability to pretend to be experts – just turns my stomach. Life’s actually a lot easier!
          I’ve said before though that I’m just an interloper that’s discovered this site – and it gets my respect because it actually works – and prbably on the basis that there’s an lprent or two (somewhat younger) that hasn’t yet got so pissed off with it that they are able to cope (as I probably would have had I not had to cope with the utlimate in BS artists – strangely enough in the banking sector, then gubbamint departments in situations such as this)
          Yep – I take it back, and the best of British luck.

    • McFlock 16.2

      Hmmm.

      What Hipkins could have said was “Labour started a good programme, and this government dropped the ball. Like the economy, government debt and New Zealand industry, National Party incompetence has turned it into a car wreck”.

  16. Jackp 17

    So, Key blames the “advisors” and keeps Parata and moves Foss on to another ministorial position. Is there anything Key and National has ever touched and it worked? I can remember while the Rena lay on the reef for 4 calm days Key was taking photo ops in Christchurch. Everything this government touches is the “rena”.. Another example is the Kim.dom saga. Some people are complaining about hearing too much about dot.com. I never heard of him until another one of Key screw ups. These morons cannot be doing as well as the polls indicate. No way.

  17. bad12 18

    Ha ha ha, how to mount a circular argument that would spin anyone’s mind off into deep space,

    On RadioNZ news at 8 someone supposedly speaking on behalf of talentless2 says that if the teachers had not started emailing in the details of their wages to talentless2 such a major clusterf**k of problems would not have occurred,

    Talk about defend the indefensible as the only reason the teachers were using email to send talentless2 the details of their pay was because the talentless2 system wouldn’t allow them to enter the details there,

    What it sounds like is this bunch of idiots saying that the teachers should have just shut it and accepted the fact that their pay was wrong,

    The loonies having taken over the assylum are now teaching us a new way of living, it may seem to be totally ‘man from Mars’ but if you all just relax and take your medication things will feel oh so normal in a wee while…

  18. CV - Real Labour 19

    Why do I get the feeling that I am watching Slippery and his minions pulling off another mean Houdini trick in front of our eyes? It’s like 4 years of deja vu.

  19. Erentz 20

    To all those excusing the ministers in this thread because they are not experts. First: I am, I will happily take their job if they are less qualified. Second: you’ll never get smart people in government because it requires voters to be smart and on the whole we aren’t. Third: the best we can hope for is that we demand out ministers have good judgement and can listen to experts who do know what they are talking about. But this requires leaders to work in the interests of everyone not themselves. And as we know, members are brilliant at assuming they know best an terrible at judging which experts to listen to.

    Quite simply if you want govt it projects to perform better start sacking the under performers (including in the ministry) and start promoting the experts. And get over our ego when those experts don’t play political kiss ass games and focus on real problems instead.

  20. toad 21

    I see Farrar is also spinning the “hindsight” line now:

    With the benefit of hindsight, a regional pilot should have been insisted upon before rolling out nationwide.

    • handle 21.1

      That line puts the blame on those who decided the shape of the project (the previous Labour government) rather than Farrar’s masters who oversaw it. He has probably been polling on it for them.

  21. Fortran 22

    As I have been involved for many years in computer work at design level and implementation can I please be advised by anybody as to when the specification was signed.

    It is at this point that I have seen, after say a year or two, that someone from a sub committee wants something else included.

    That in my experience starts the stuff up, as the designer starts to fiddle to implement the change, calculatiing the additional cost of course.

    After that SNAFU as we can now see. Nothing new in big projects.

    • Tim 22.1

      +1
      (as they say amongst the connected). And usually its at that point that the old saying “a camel is a horse designed by a committee” kicks in. Usually the sales ‘department’ and the bean counters agree to the deviation.
      INCIS, ABYSS, just abut every IT health related project ever conceived, DATANET (Tandem-based banking branch terminal network), “PLANWISE” and most other fuckups you can think of spring to mind. Well actually the latter was designed by a committee to begin with – its designers went on to become bean counters across the ditch where they were associated with auditing some ‘Hawaiian prince’ currently before the Queensland courts. I’ll not be surprised when I see them standing for Queensland Labor pretending to espouse left-wing poli-tiks

  22. Rogue Trooper 23

    24 more months of Salsa to be poured down the drain. cha cha cha Changes

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