Finance Minister Bill English is facing ongoing questions about how much taxpayer money he gets in a subsidy for his family home and arrangements made to qualify for it.

Labour today said Mr English is receiving far more in housing accommodation than a minister in similar circumstances got when it was in power.

Spending by MPs has been analysed and criticised since Parliamentary Service and Ministerial Services released details last week following calls for more transparency.

Some ministers were singled out after it emerged they claimed between $700 and $1000 a week in Wellington living expenses.

Mr English has come in for more attention as he receives almost $1000 a week in accommodation expenses (including $700 rent) for his family home in Wellington.

The house is owned by a family trust which leases it to Ministerial Services for $36,400 a year, though Mr English denied he had arranged his affairs after the election to maximise the subsidy.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday it was the trust arrangement that qualified for the higher subsidy, but it was a just a coincidence it had changed.

Questioned by journalists today, Mr English denied changing the ownership structure after he became a minister in order to get a higher subsidy, saying it made no difference.

"We had no intention of doing that. This is not about the money, the decisions we made were for personal and family reasons and in particular to try and stay in the house," Mr English said.

"If the rules are different than the advice I was given by Ministerial Services - which was I complied with all the rules - then I am quite happy if the circumstances change."

Mr English said the rules had no mention of ownership or interest, so therefore there was no need to arrange his circumstances to meet that.

He then said testily that with the country in the grip of a recession, there were "more important things to talk about".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Phil Goff said under the former government ministers had either a rental property provided by Ministerial Services or those who were living in their own home had the allowance capped at the same levels as MPs or $24,000 a year.

It is understood that this only applied to one Labour minister in the last government, Clayton Cosgrove.

National also released material that showed rents paid for ministerial homes currently range from $24,000 a year to $41,000. Those rents under Labour ranged from $31,000 to $36,000.

The information also listed Ministerial Services as leasing Mr English's home for $36,400 a year.

Mr Key yesterday defended his ministers and said they deserved their taxpayer-funded Wellington homes, considering the demands of their jobs and stresses on families.

But he said he wasn't happy with the rules that covered their claims and has called for a review of what he considered to be "arcane" regulations.

Mr Key said he had placed a cap on ministerial rental claims at $700 a week, which equates to $36,400 - the same as the cost of Mr English's house to the taxpayer.

Mr English said he welcomed the review and any changes that came from it.

Other ministers were also questioned today for moving out of their Wellington apartments, then renting them out to MPs with Parliamentary Service paying the rent.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said his previous apartment had been very small and was not suitable for him and his wife now he was spending more time in Wellington as a minister.

He confirmed the apartment was owned by his superannuation trust and was rented to National MP Bakshi Singh for $400 a week.

As an MP, Mr Singh can claim up to $24,000 year in accommodation costs from Parliamentary Service.

Dr Mapp also collected around $700 a week for his new larger apartment and said he could see why his rental income should be used to offset his expense claims.

"I can see why people have concerns and the review will deal with that,' Dr Mapp said.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley also said he was renting out his old apartment and claiming a $1000 a week in accommodation expenses in a larger home to accommodate his wife and young children.

Mr Heatley would not say whether this was rented to an MP.

Mr English said it was a problem that had arisen because National had moved into government after a decade in opposition.

As MPs they had been able to own their Wellington homes and get a taxpayer subsidy. They still owned the properties now they were ministers and the rules were unclear on many issues.

- NZPA