So what exactly do we define as “serious mismanagement”?

[The] IRD is changing the way child support payments are calculated, saying it is the first overhaul in 20 years.

It has admitted its budget has steadily increased from $30 million, to $163 million, and finally to $210 million. That’s a $180 million blow-out.

Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson asked Ms Ferguson who was responsible.

“This all happens and what’s the consequence within IRD? Is anyone being held to account? What is being done about this? It’s an extraordinary blow-out.”

Ms Ferguson told the committee she commissioned an independent review to learn from the mistakes made.

“The management of a project is, I think, the accountability of myself and my department – the recommendations were around the processes and the way that we set up that project.”

Under questioning, she admitted IRD Minister Todd McClay was not impressed with the increased budget.

“The minister was not pleased. Of course, any minister would want a project delivered on budget and on time.”

Mr Cosgrove said the people in charge had been asleep at the wheel.

“Money just keeps rolling, the cash registers keep clicking and the New Zealand public just keep scratching their head. If this was the private sector, somebody would be sacked.”

This has been allowed to meander along,?sucking more money from our collective pockets without any real public scrutiny. ? It’s one thing to say “$180M blowout”, but that’s on top of the original $30M budget set aside for it.

How does IRD Commissioner Ferguson still have a job? ?How is it that the opposition haven’t been raking Todd McClay over the coals for letting the IRD walk all over him? ?The $180M “blowout” is?six times the original budget.

Seriously, tell your customers that you want to increase all your?invoices by 600% of what you first quoted and see if you’re still asked back next time.

This is gross incompetence. ? And nobody seems to be outwardly concerned other than just giving more money to the problem.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Stuart Nash wanted to know why Inland Revenue owed New Zealanders about $750 million in overpaid tax and what it intends to do about it.

“You are very proactive in chasing people with tax debt, and so you should be, but it would be good if you exercised the same level I suppose of enthusiasm when it comes to giving money back to people who have actually overpaid their tax.”

In response, Ms Ferguson said the department used advertising campaigns to encourage people to check their personal tax summaries.

But she acknowledged IRD could do more and work to help taxpayers.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay downplayed the figure of $210 million and said it would be more like $163 million.

“We have legislation before Parliament that will bring that down.

“When Inland Revenue came to me and said that the cost would now be $210 million, I said that was unacceptable and they needed to find ways to reduce that cost.”

The IRD has stopped proactively paying refunds promptly it already knows are due. ? They will pay it out eventually, but if you want the money sooner, you have to hunt it down yourself. ?I’m told?it can take two or more calls before they’ll pay out money they agree they owe you.

So they’re hounding tax cheats, which is good. ?They’re not paying good tax citizens back, which is bad. ?And in the mean time they have an IT project that’s 600% over budget, nobody is accountable, there is always more money by robbing Peter to pay Paul, and there is no end in sight.

Hekia Parata was pilloried over Novopay. ?Why has this been allowed to fester without similar scrutiny? ?Do they have to send the dour Steve Joyce in to sort this out? ?He can do with a win lately, and if he can rescue Todd McClay’s mess here from bleeding any more money, he can do with the bonus points after the SkyCity and Team New Zealand debacles.

I hate agreeing with Labour politicians, but it’s a good question: ?Is anyone responsible for anything at the IRD?


-?Amelia Langford, RNZ