TVNZ has spent almost $1.3 million on hair, makeup and outfits for its stars over the last three years.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show the state broadcaster spent $228,229 on hair and makeup and $1.06 million on wardrobe for its presenters, reporters and guests since 2009.
TVNZ publicist Stephanie Taylor said the Herald on Sunday was not allowed to go behind the scenes into its hair and makeup department.
"I understand there is interest. Our people obviously need to wear something on air and we definitely hear from the public about our presenters' on-air appearance," she said.
The department was run by permanent and contracted staff, with the numbers each day varying depending on the shows and number of guests.
Presenters don't get to keep the clothes and some, like Petra Bagust, only wear New Zealand designers in an effort to showcase homegrown talent.
"The amount described as clothing includes annual allowances paid to our 84 reporters, reimbursed upon production of receipts. Those allowances are to enhance the clothing that the reporters might normally purchase to a standard suitable for on-air," Taylor said.
Some retailers loan clothes to the station in exchange for a credit on the show. Handpicked designers include Helen Cherry, Kate Sylvester, Andrea Moore and Trelise Cooper.
Hair and makeup artist Greer Melrose worked at TVNZ from 2000-05. "Every single person who was on-screen had to have their makeup done: male, female, child," said Melrose.
"Reporters usually did their own but if we had time and someone was going out to do a live cross, we would do them."
Meanwhile, both TV3 and TVNZ are trying to boost editorial staff. TV3 is planning for a "hard-hitting" current affairs show to replace 60 Minutes.
The new show is looking for reporters, a producer and two technical staff, but no presenter, suggesting 60 Minutes host Mike McRoberts will front it.
Meanwhile TVNZ has advertised internally at least 19 positions for a new current affairs show, a source at the broadcaster said.