Cost of living payment: David Parker suggests upcoming cost of living payment could still go to the dead

The Government's spending watchdog has taken a swing at the cost of living payment, saying he has a number of concerns.

It comes ahead of the second instalment of the payment on Thursday and this time there'll be screening tests to weed out Kiwis who aren't actually living in New Zealand.

On Thursday, more than a million Kiwis will wake up $116 richer. 

Among them are Onehunga locals.

"The price of food is very expensive so it's very generous of Jacinda to give us this money," said one.

"I'll probably buy a hop card - but I've already got three of those," said another. 

But once bitten by tales of ineligible Kiwis overseas getting paid, the Government's twice shy. This time it has IRD cross-referencing IP addresses and non-resident tax returns. 

"They've switched the onus though so that those who may not be eligible are removed and will have to seek to come back in," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. 

That screening has found of the roughly 1.4 million Kiwis who received the first payment, about 31,000 of them could be living overseas - ie ineligible. That's $3.6 million worth of payments.

"If we were to do it again, would we have these screens in place from the start? Yes, we would," said Revenue Minister David Parker. 

It's figures like that which has the Government's spending watchdog - Auditor-General John Ryan - concerned.

In a new report on the payment, he said "speed and expediency" were prioritised over "certainty and accuracy". There was also a lack of clarity about what "present in New Zealand" means in the eligibility criteria, he said. 

Using a physical address as a proxy for being present in New Zealand is "problematic", the Auditor-General said, and Inland Revenue "does not know, and may never know, how many ineligible people might have received the payment".

Asked if he was concerned the Government will never know how many ineligible people received the payment, Parker said: "No, I'm not".

National's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis believes the Government "needs to front up and take responsibility and apologise for its misuse of taxpayers' funding".

The Revenue Minister said Monday's changes aren't a reaction to the Auditor-General's report but the Government tidying up after itself.

Parker said "we'll never know" how many ineligible people will receive the upcoming payment.

He also isn't certain a dead person won't get the money.

"I can't and I would be surprised if by the end of this one of the two million people who are getting this payment hasn't died."

Death, as the saying goes, is one of life's certainties and yet unknown to the other, the tax department.