It seems to have been one last hurrah for some MPs who spent up on a taxpayer-subsidised international travel perk in the three months before it was axed.

Parliamentary and Ministerial Services expenses for the final quarter of 2010, released yesterday, do not show who used the subsidy, only the overall amount spent on air travel.

National MP Shane Ardern's airfares cost the taxpayer $18,892 between October 1 and December 31, almost double what he spent the previous quarter, and well in excess of the $10,320 he spent in the first half of last year.

The difference suggests he had a final use of the subsidy, but he refused to comment yesterday.

Taxpayers covered $28,731 of Labour MP Ruth Dyson's airfares, more than the $22,362 she spent in the first nine months of last year.

She is on holiday in Ethiopia at the moment and could not be contacted.

National MP Jo Goodhew's air travel bill was $21,905, more than the $18,286 spent on her airfares for the first nine months of last year.

She said she had not been on holiday, but her bill was higher than normal because she went to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham at the start of October, where she represented the National Party.

The international travel perk was canned in November but could still be used over Christmas if the travel had already been approved. Depending on how many terms an MP had served, they and their partners could have up to a 90 per cent subsidy on international airfares which they could use for private or parliamentary travel.

It had previously landed MPs in hot water for extravagant holidays, and was only killed off after a public outcry and political pressure from parties, led by the Greens.

MPs with the highest expenses were Speaker Lockwood Smith ($28,845) and Opposition leader Phil Goff ($41,572).

MPs who live in remote areas also had higher expense costs, including Dunedin-based Hilary Calvert ($21,273), West Coaster Kevin Hague ($24,835) and Hone Harawira ($38,269), who is based in Northland.

National MPs' expenses totalled $662,620; the Labour Party's were $799,750; the Maori Party (five MPs) $90,086; Act (five MPs) $53,572; the Green Party (nine MPs) $146,065; and United Future's Peter Dunne $2922.

The figures exclude ministerial expenses.

MPs' expenses in the last quarter totalled $1.8 million, up from $1.65 million the previous quarter. In contrast ministers' expenses fell, from $1.26 million to $1.13 million.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser, who are all frequently overseas on government business, had travel bills totalling more than $110,000 each.

A last hurrah?
Shane Ardern, National
Air travel expenses for the first 9 months of 2010: $20,009
For the last 3 months of 2010: $18,892
Response: No comment

Ruth Dyson, Labour
First 9 months: $22,362
Last 3 months: $28,731
Could not be contacted

Jo Goodhew, National
First 9 months: $18,286
Last 3 months: $21,905
Travelled to Britain to represent National at the Conservative Party conference, Birmingham.