The minister in charge of sorting out the Novopay debacle, Steven Joyce, says debt collections have ceased following revelations teachers were being chased for overpayments as low as $22.
Teachers have slammed the the debt collection as heavy handed and hypocritical, with some still waiting for the wages they failed to receive as a result of the error-ridden payroll system.
Mr Joyce, speaking on Newstalk ZB this morning, moved to reassure concerned teachers, and said the debt collection had stopped while the Acting Secretary for Education, Peter Hughes, considers the situation.
In his view, teachers should only be pursued to pay back money if it was "significant sums" and if they had ignored other requests to pay up.
"My understanding is you get three letters over nearly two months before any action is taken," Mr Joyce said.
The Novopay payroll system, run by Australian company Talent2 and introduced six months ago, has been plagued by problems, and teachers and support staff have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.
Ian Leckie, immediate past president of the NZ Educational Institute, said the collection action was "extremely heavy-handed''.
He understood debt collectors were approaching teachers while they were working, and the visits were the first they knew about any overpayment.
He said the ministry owed money to his school, which had paid $45,000 in advance to teachers who had been victims of the Novopay system.
"But our school certainly isn't sending debt collectors around to the ministry for what we had to pay out."
Should the Novopay system be scrapped?
This poll ended on 31 March 2013.
Yes, get something new
No, they just need to fix it
I don't know
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.