$66.50 for coffee and eggs? The huge cost of processing MPs' receipts revealed

The cost of processing ministers' and their staff's expenses receipts can be revealed, showing the high cost of backroom paper shuffling.

Eggs on toast and a flat white - bought for a staff member at Mojo, on the Prime Minister's credit card - cost $66.50 of taxpayer money. That's "obviously" a bit steep, according to Jacinda Ardern.

Similarly steep was Winston Peters' $22 taxi ride to the airport, which ended up costing the taxpayer $77.

"That's news to me because I don't have many expense," said Mr Peters.

Newshub can reveal that's because of the cost of processing the receipts when ministers claim expenses.

It costs the Department of Internal Affairs about $55 to process a minister's receipt; $41 at the Ministry of Justice; $16.40 for the Ministry of Social Development; and $6.44 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministers were surprised to learn of the added costs to their taxis, chunky chips and cappuccinos.

"Very surprised to hear that, I don't have many receipts so I'm pleased to think I don't cost that much," said Justice Minister Andrew Little.

"Yeah it does seem expensive, so I'm gonna go ask some questions," said Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.

Chris Hipkins, the Minister in charge, only learned of the hidden costs when Newshub asked questions on Wednesday.

"I'd like to see the costs coming down. What I don't want to see is any of the scrutiny applied to ministerial expenses weakened in any way," he said.

The Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice both told Newshub they are considering switching to an electronic process, which would take costs down to below $20 per expense claim.

"I think that's a logical thing. An electronic processing system may well help to bring down costs," said Mr Hipkins.

Eugenie Sage has another idea.

"Ministers aren't allowed credit cards, and I think it would be much more efficient if we were," she said.

Perhaps 2019 is the year to go digital and cut cost for taxpayers


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