Taxpayers fork out nearly $3 million renting unused immigration office in China

New Zealand money.
Photo credit: Getty Images

By Gill Bonnett of RNZ

The ongoing rent for an immigration office closed more than a year ago has cost taxpayers almost $3 million.

Immigration New Zealand's Beijing office was shut in August 2021, following the closures of sites in India, South Africa and the Philippines.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's annual report shows it could not get out of its lease in China and will only be free of it next month.

The rent has cost $2.89m since it closed.

Last year, the government wrote off $284m of losses sustained by Immigration New Zealand (INZ), and has put visa levies up by 279 percent.

Another funding review is expected to deal with a further predicted deficit of $135m by the end of next year.

Other expenses last year included $57m on its new ADEPT online system, which has been plagued with problems.

In an Official Information Act request, INZ said there had been no public consultation on the ADEPT platform, although it followed the appropriate government procurement process.