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Royal visit comes in under budget

The visit of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to New Zealand last month cost nearly $300,000 less than expected. 

In total, taxpayers paid out $766,000, figures just released by the internal affairs department show. Just over a million dollars had been allocated.

The royal couple spent just under a week touring the country as part of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations. 

The government covered most of the visit's expenses and the largest, at $287,000, was for salaries for people such as event planners and media managers. 

The second-highest cost at $103,000 was for an advance trip by members of Clarence House – Prince Charles' and Camilla's official residence – to review details of the visit. 

Travel costs, including international and domestic flights, were $93,000.

Events such as the armistice service and welcome ceremony cost $21,000 and accommodation was $61,000. 

Communications services, including photography, media and printing, came in at $36,000. 

Prince Charles and Camilla and immediate members of the royal household stayed at Government Houses in Auckland and Wellington, while visit delegation staff and their New Zealand counterparts used hotels. 

The costs of personal protection officers, who provide a regular security detail for the royal couple, were met by the London Metropolitan Police. 

Internal Affairs says the final cost was lower than expected because initial projections were approximate only.

The full budget. Click to zoom. Source: DIA.

More by Caleb Allison

Comments and questions

What! We had to pay for those two to come to NZ.
They're rich enough to pay for the trip themselves.

I find this all grossly wrong. Here is a person, Charles, born into a privileged life, who does not hold a regular job and was given what he has today, that being many millions of pounds. And we a small struggling country with so-called child poverty and others said to be living below the minimum wage and NZers front up for Charles and his consort to run around the country and we pay the account. Goodness, let's get rid of the Queen as our head of state - but god forbid we end up with Charlie.

Under budget
Wow that would be a first for a Govt Dept

Golly gosh. That's 17 cents a head. Oh no! A teaspoonful of beer!

I think they actually got their sums wrong in the first place. Most government departments are so disfunctional that you can't rely on anything they say.

What , we are struggling like hell here and we have to pay taxes for these people who come here and enjoy themselves and vanish.Do you think this is fair? What is our govt. doing to stop all these. You know some of us struggle so much to meet our daily needs. We don't have enough money to pay our water bill and electricity bill. You should think about us poor people.

What? Poor people reading NBR? Please cancel my subscription immediately!

Why do we have to pay? The richest person alive is not Carlos Slim, as the papers all claim, but the world's biggest landowner, the Queen. (Cahill)

What an utter waste of taxpayers' money.

Off with their heads!

I have no problem with these costs. We did after all invite the representative of our head of state to participate in the wider celebrations of her 60th jubilee.

As for some of the comments here, why exactly should Charles be expected to pitch up here at his own expense to complete a function we asked him to carry out?

Reality check folks. This specific expense and the argument about whether we should have the queen as our head of state are different issues.

Besides which, this is a pittance compared to the cost of hosting a flag waving visit by a senior US official.

Charles was given an estate (by taxpayers of the Commonwealth) to fund his family's lavish lifestyle of waste and lude parties. It's so absurd a country like NZ, whose national debt is 25% of GDP and can't afford to look after the 250,000 children living beneath the poverty line, is funding this visit. Priorities...

It may sound like a big figure but when you split it into four million people it's a measly amount, so really it doesn't matter

That amount of money could provide thousands of meals for kids who turn up to school hungry every day. On principle and the cost of it means it does matter and it's a disgrace.

I love the implied dichotomy of these sort of comments - it's either fund a Royal visit or feed children. The fact is that the money to fund this has not been diverted from feeding children but is part of a larger government budget.
To put it into context, Tourism NZ spends about $85 million a year to promote NZ to overseas tourist markets. Of these markets the UK is one of our largest (about 200k people per year, although this has been dropping). Given that the coverage in the UK would have been on TV, newspapers and internet, $700k is actually good value for the kind of 'advertising' for the NZ brand. If it generates 5-10% more visitors per year from the UK (or stops the slide) I think the money is a good spend compared to the cost of the alternatives.

This is so wrong. Why should we pay 3/4 million for smug, adulterous royals to visit NZ with our taxes when the government is cutting funding to most services that we need. We even paid for Camilla's hairdresser!

If a private business performed so poorly against budget there would be some harsh questions asked. The person responsible for the budget needs to know more about what they were doing. Such a discrepancy needs as much questioning as an overspend. Would you believe the next budget they submit?

Let's not forget the RNZAF planes shadowing their aircraft into and out of our skies. You can't go to far out of your way when a gong for Key will be the result.

The house Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is one of the richest family alive and they enslave us all through the company "Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand". It's time we became a republic!

Cheap at double the cost. I'm still basking in the afterglow..

Wake up, people. Whether you like it not, the simple fact is I would rather pay this than see this country set up its own presidency with all that goes with it. Given the enormous amount that our govt can waste, can you think just what the budget would be for our own head of state? This is peanuts.
Anyway, we could end up with Winston as President – does that warrant thinking about?

Or President Muldoon? Keep the monarchy.

Bottom line is we should sever our ties to the UK. Lose the Union Jack from our flag and become the independent nation we proclaim to be. Monarchies are anachronistic today. The fact that New Zealand still clings to an outdated model is pathetic. The only reason Britain does is they have nothing else to hold onto.

#17 I could not agree more.
Hypothesise that NZ was a republic who in the hell would be the president ?
Sorting this little drama out would cost way way more than anything the royals cost us.
Dont even mention the cost of the infrastructure to go with the Republic.

Quick! Let NZTE use the surplus to buy some more iPads!

There will always be complaints about cost from a loud minority. A presidency will cost more by comparison.

Why would a presidency cost more? Why would a president cost more than our PM? The prince is not a politician, does not draft policy nor have any authority over the state. He is merely a figurehead by birth, which does not qualify him for anything of any particular skill.

#17, if you ask who would be the president, that is the same as asking who would be prime minister? I find it an absurd notion that it would be difficult at all. Certainly not any more difficult than the current system we have in choosing who leads the government. The difference is that you have no choice over a monarch, whereas you do with a president or any other elected official.

Mr Republican, are we to assume the president is an elected official in place of the PM. If so, the best we have now in the elected official stakes is J Key.
Does this also mean that should Mr Key in his new role gets assassinated by out-of-control monarchists we will then have President Bill English and under Helen in similar circumstances it would have been President Micheal Cullen, and a bit before that it would have been newly elected President Winston Peters?
Some of us should be careful what we wish for.