Ministers will have to personally buy the taxpayer-provided furniture, crockery and whiteware in their Wellington homes under new accommodation arrangements - or these will be auctioned off to the public.

New documents have been released about a change that will give most ministers a flat sum of $37,500 a year to cover all their Wellington accommodation expenses.

The documents show the change will also bring an end to the days of ministers being provided with fully furnished homes - including such things as furniture, utensils, crockery.

Under the new arrangements, a stocktake of chattels is planned and ministers who do not want to move will be asked to buy chattels already in their homes at a fair market price. Anything that is not bought will be auctioned off or thrown out.

The furnishings have been controversial in the past, as new ministers demanded costly upgrades after changes of administration.

While ministers will still have their communications and security organised and paid for by Ministerial Services, they will now have to pay for their own power bills, property maintenance, cleaning and gardening themselves - saving at least a further $32,100 a year for the taxpayer.

The changes are expected to save $206,300 over the 2010-11 year and administration costs alone are expected to shrink from $220,000 a year to $90,000.

The changes will not affect the Prime Minister or the five other ministers in Crown-owned residences until at least the next election in 2011.

Four ministers who stayed in their previous homes instead of moving into official ministerial homes after the election will now get $30,000 instead of the current maximum they can claim of $24,000. If they move, they will also get $37,500.

The 13 ministers in homes currently leased by Ministerial Services will be moved on to the lump-sum scheme when their present leases run out - most by next May.

They will then either have to renew the leases in their own names or find a new property. Some of the ministers will come out financially worse off after the change-over, while others will benefit.

When Ministerial Services first suggested the new arrangement of a basic payment of $37,500 rather than a reimbursement of actual expenses, it listed "demonstrates financial sacrifice by ministers" as one of its virtues.

Mr Key reviewed the arrangements after the first release of accommodation expenses this year and controversy over Finance Minister Bill English's claims for his Wellington home.

Mr English no longer claims any allowance after it was revealed he was claiming more each week despite living in the same house he occupied as an Opposition MP.

He initially paid back the $12,000 difference and later paid it all back - a total of $32,000.

As well as cost savings, the change is aimed at simplifying the three arrangements that exist for ministers who are not based in Wellington.

The documents show that at least one of the Crown-owned residences will be sold after the Governor-General moves out of Vogel House and back into Government House.

The other state-owned ministerial homes - other than Premier House - are being reviewed for sale.

* Not affected: Ministers in Crown-owned residences - Prime Minister John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Tariana Turia, Simon Power, Nick Smith and Tony Ryall.

$37,500 a year to make own arrangements instead of fully furnished leased ministerial homes with maintenance and utilities paid for: John Carter, Phil Heatley, Murray McCully, Kate Wilkinson, Pansy Wong, Wayne Mapp, Tim Groser, Georgina te Heuheu, Paula Bennett, Jonathan Coleman, Anne Tolley, Rodney Hide, Judith Collins.

$30,000 a year for those who did not take up ministerial residences: David Carter, Nathan Guy, Pita Sharples, Maurice Williamson.