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The Late Show's Stephen Colbert's New Zealand trip cost taxpayers $104,000

The New Zealand taxypayer contributed $104,000 to the cost of The Late Show host Stephen Colbert's trip here last month. 

Colbert visited New Zealand for six days, with total accommodation costing Tourism New Zealand $58,000, activities costing $19,000, expenses racking up $14,500 and domestic travel, meeting costs and meals costing $12,700. 

"Tourism New Zealand’s estimated investment is $104.5k with a significant return on investment of $5 million in estimated advertising value expected," Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said. 

"The idea for Colbert to visit New Zealand first came about in September 2018 ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s appearance on his show during a scheduled visit to the US."

Ms Ardern made her second appearance on his show in September while in the US for the United Nations summit. It was on the show with Ms Ardern that he announced he would visit.

"Tourism New Zealand was approached by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to assist with sourcing a 'gift' for Colbert.

"We knew Colbert is a massive Hobbit fan, so we contacted Hobbiton who agreed to the idea of granting Colbert an ‘honorary Hobbiton citizenship’, including an invite to accept it in person," Mr England-Hall said. 

His trip was postponed in March due to the Christchurch terrorist attack. 

"We worked closely with the show’s writers to incorporate tourism messaging that we knew would appeal to the show’s predominantly US audience," Mr England-Hall said.

During his time here the comedian and Lord of the Rings fan posted on Instagram about his time in New Zealand, it included a photo from atop a snowy mountain with the pun: "This is peak happiness".

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The Late Night host is filming segments for his show while in the country. Source: Breakfast

According to Tourism NZ, US TV company CBS funded the majority of the production, "while Tourism NZ covered the accommodation, some tourism experiences and food and beverages for the 16 crew from CBS, including Stephen Colbert".

"The shoot required 13 extras at times and the accommodation, food and beverages for these extras was also paid for by Tourism New Zealand."  

Figures obtained by 1 NEWS in September showed 17 Government departments and agencies have used influencers since 2012, including Hollywood stars, Bollywood celebrities and YouTube sensations. 

It has cost taxpayers $8 million, with the biggest spender being Tourism NZ.

Jacinda Ardern with US talk show host Stephen Colbert in 2018. Source: CBS