More than 70 beneficiaries who received a special-incentive payment to move to Christchurch for the rebuild returned to the benefit within three months - and a third will have to pay the money back.
Under the incentive, introduced last July, beneficiaries living elsewhere were paid $3,000 to move to Christchurch to fill the labour shortage there.
1,184 people got the payment, on condition they would stay a minimum of three months and work at least 30 hours a week.
Information released under the Official Information Act to Radio New Zealand showed 73 returned to the benefit within three months.
Of those, 25 were assessed as not having a sufficient reason for doing so, and will be required to repay the money.
The ministry has been unable to say how many people who got the payment remain in Canterbury.