The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Services › Other Services › Cost of the Royal Visit in 2012

Organisation of the visit by The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall 10 -16 November 2012


To celebrate 2012 as her Diamond Jubilee Year, Queen Elizabeth II arranged for official visits to be made to all 15 sovereign states outside the United Kingdom which recognise her as their Head of State.

The four largest realms – Canada, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand – were visited by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The other two Pacific realms, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, hosted visits by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry made a visit to Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas. The remaining realms were visited by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

New Zealand visit arrangements

Having made a visit to Canada in May, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall spent three days in Papua New Guinea, and six days in Australia before their 10-16 November visit to New Zealand.

Given the scale of the event, the Department of Internal Affairs set up a Diamond Jubilee Visit Office to make and coordinate the necessary arrangements. About 300 proposals and invitations were considered for the programme.

Following close consultation with The Prince of Wales’s household staff from Clarence House, other agencies and potential event hosts, the final itinerary covered over 40 engagements. A vital part of the process was a standard visit by an advance party from Clarence House to review, in conjunction with counterparts and local planners, the nature of proposed events, household support, media provisions and security measures.

Logistical arrangements ranged from about 30 motorcade plans through to the accreditation of 70 news organisations, which were represented by a total of about 400 journalists. In addition to comprehensive briefings, contingency provisions had to be made for emergencies and inclement weather options. Detailed procedure plans had to be developed in close consultation with event managers, security and other agencies, and Clarence House representatives.


In accordance with longstanding practices, major realms meet most of the costs of official visits. The New Zealand Government has accounted for visit arrangements on the same basis as the Governments of Canada and Australia have for the visits to their respective countries this year.

For the November visit, New Zealand coordinated with Australia to share external costs evenly. For the air travel arrangements, each Government paid half the cost of the commercial airfares for the delegation from London to Singapore and return. The Royal Australian Air Force was responsible for the royal party’s flights from Singapore to Papua New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea to Australia, as well as the internal flights between the six centres visited. The Royal New Zealand Air Force flew the delegation from Canberra to Auckland, Christchurch to Singapore, and on four internal flights.

No additional budget was required by the RNZAF as the travel was covered by the annual flying hours requirement for Boeing 757 crews to maintain their specified competencies. Related defence costs were likewise standard components of military training, skills and operational requirements. Security operations undertaken by New Zealand Police were also covered within their normal operational budget.

Fluidity on timing, locations and events meant that cost projections had to be very approximate from the outset. Significant changes remained possible throughout the planning period. Ultimately, it was not until work on nearly all the elements of the visit was completed with Clarence House after the advance visit that a budget based on agreed engagements could be recommended. Estimated expenditure of up to $1.05 million was approved on 29 October 2012. Even then it was understood there could be variations between projected and actual expenditure, which proved to be the case.

As At 29 Oct 2012
(000) (Forecast)
As At 6 Dec 2012
(000) (Actual)
Scoping / assessment visits $31 $21
Advance Visit$100$103
Accommodation and meals$114$61
Travel (international and domestic) $121$93
VIP and Ground Transport $81$78
Events (e.g: Armistice Service, Welcome, Visitor Centre Opening etc) $91$21
Communications & information (e.g: photography, comms media, printing) $73$36
Operating expenses $15$16
Office Accommodation $26$26
Miscellaneous and contingency $89$21
Note: Actual costs have been rounded.

Full use was made of Government House in Auckland, and again in Wellington, to accommodate Their Royal Highnesses and immediate members of the royal household. Mirroring the approach also adopted in Australia, other members of the delegation and New Zealand counterparts stayed in city hotels.

Following consultations with Clarence House, New Zealand agreed to meet the costs of Their Royal Highnesses and 15 members of their delegation. In accordance with longstanding practices, members included event advisers, household support, media managers and security personnel. A New Zealand artist was attached to the delegation at the personal expense of The Prince of Wales.

The costs of the personal protection officers who comprise the regular security details for Their Royal Highnesses respectively were met by the London Metropolitan Police. To facilitate international coverage, 11 foreign media representatives were carried on the RNZAF flight from Canberra and three internal RNZAF flights and also provided with ground transport, at no charge. However, they met the costs of their own accommodation and related expenses, a domestic flight and all long-haul international travel.

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