Government loses control of Education Ministry

Claims by Associate Education Minister Craig Foss that he is "utterly flabbergasted" by revelations the Ministry of Education is planning to restructure its Payroll Services Unit clearly demonstrate he isn't in control of his own portfolio, Labour's State Services spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"With staff up and down the country still being paid incorrectly, and some not being paid at all, it simply defies belief that the Ministry would begin a restructure involving the very staff tasked with fixing the mess. And those waiting for their pay will rightly be outraged when they learn the Minister in charge doesn't seem to know anything about it.

"Like Hekia Parata, whose handling of the portfolio has also been less than capable,  Craig Foss receives a handsome six-figure salary to oversee these officials, yet he seems to have no idea what they're getting up to.

“He was the person who signed off on the implementation of Novopay and he has failed miserably to take control of the ensuing debacle. If John Key is not seriously questioning whether Mr Foss has the skills to sort things out, then he should be.

"The buck stops with the Minister. Craig Foss can't keep dodging around the issue. His hands-off approach has contributed to this shambles and he needs to front up and start taking charge.

"Those waiting to be paid want to know someone in government is taking control. If Craig Foss isn't up to the job he should step aside and hand it over to someone who is," Chris Hipkins said.