The government is reviewing the cost of the chauffeur driven BMW service for ministers as part of the government's savings drive, briefings to incoming ministers revealed today.

The briefing to the Prime Minister on Ministerial Services - which manages ministers - says that the department was reviewing the pricing regime charged by VIP Transport, which provides the service.

The BMW fleet has been controversial and cost about $8 million last year - $500,000 more than usual because of the Rugby World Cup.

The paper said the review was aimed at ensuring charges were "more transparent, accurate and better aligned with actual usage."


The paper also says ministerial houses were to be assessed to ensure they were earthquake safe.

And Mr Key was warned that he was not exempt from the Government's demands for costs savings across the public sector: the paper says he would have to work with other ministers who were under the umbrella of the Department of Internal Affairs to ensure they all met savings targets by mid July.

The amount of savings tagged was not revealed. However, the Government has set a target of $980 million in savings from the whole state sector over the next three years.

The briefing to Mr Key also commented on a law change under which the Remuneration Authority will set travel and accommodation allowances for ministers as well as MPs.

Mr Key had pushed for the change after a series of scandals about MPs' use of their 'holiday' air travel perk and costs. The perk has now been scrapped.

The paper said the change was expected to happen this year and Mr Key would be consulted about extra travel and accommodation services ministers might need.

The department told Mr Key that the portfolio "traditionally attracts a high level of media interest" but added that there were currently few issues that would excite interest.