Parliament's latest expense disclosures show MPs in the Hawke's Bay region spent $37,348 in the past three months.

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri spent the largest amount at $20,257, followed by Napier MP Stuart Nash, with Tukituki MP Craig Foss and Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott having expenses just over $900.

Ms Whaitiri said "I'd like to believe the cost reflects how hard I work as a MP of a large electorate".

Ikaroa Rawhiti is about six times the size of Napier or Tukituki, she said, and includes a number of iwi, and territorial local authorities with whom Ms Whaitiri met often.


During the quarter Ms Whaitiri was promoted to the local government portfolio and to Labour's shadow caucus "which requires more travelling this quarter than previous quarters".

The major Maori events of Waitangi Day and Ratana during this quarter required attendance and subsequent cost, and she attended meetings around the country on the Government's proposed Maori Law reforms.

Mr Nash said his total of $16,073 reflected his "pretty standard routine", of spending two days in the capital a week when the House was sitting, and undertaking portfolio duties during recess.

"Other than that I'm in the electorate," he said. The $16,073 was his lowest total in the past year. He had not made a concerted effort to lower his expenses, but did make sure to not have any unnecessary ones.

"Really I see that MPs can't be seen as being extravagant," he said, "I try to keep expenses down so I can focus on doing my job as MP."

Mr Foss said: "I'm always mindful about how taxpayer dollars are spent. Over a year my expenses are generally in line with most other MPs."

Mr Scott could not be reached for comment.

MPs spent $1.4 million in the January to March quarter, a slight increase on last year.

On average, Labour MPs spent $15,444 each, New Zealand First MPs spent $14,652, Green MPs spent $14,509, Maori Party MPs spent $12,234 and National MPs, excluding ministerial expenses, spent $8505.

Government ministers spent $1,084,717 on accommodation and travel in the past three months - about $90,000 less than the same period last year.

That was partly due to a quieter workload for the biggest travellers, Trade Minister Todd McClay and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, who was recovering from surgery.

The minister with the biggest bill was Mr McClay, who spent $108,774, mostly on international travel - though some of that total was carried over from the previous quarter.

The biggest-spending MP, excluding ministers, was Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little, who spent $36,009 in the last quarter, partly due to international travel from the previous quarter.