Prime Minister John Key's first trip as Prime Minister to the Apec meeting in Peru and then to London to meet the Queen cost $96,841 - but he's blaming part of the cost on first-class flights booked by the Labour Government.

Information provided in response to questions from Labour's Chris Hipkins show Mr Key's international travel from election day to May 7 totalled $148,595 for four trips.

The total bill for all ministers' international travel over that period was $707,581. It included airfares, accommodation, other expenses and the costs of any accompanying staff, MPs or spouses.

Days after forming the new government, Mr Key flew first class last November for his first trip as Prime Minister, to the Apec meeting and then to London - a one week trip which cost $96,841.

The paper says bookings for the Prime Ministerial first class travel were made under the previous Labour administration when Helen Clark was Prime Minister "and in accordance with the standard practice of that administration."

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said he had since travelled business class "and this is his expectation of other ministers."

Foreign Minister Murray McCully had the biggest international travel bill at $175,834 for the 11 international trips he made between November and May 7.

He was followed closely by Trade Minister Tim Groser, who spent $172,503 on five trips.

Mr McCully's return travel from Afghanistan in April included a first-class leg from Dubai to Singapore.

The paper said this followed a last minute change in plans, and first class seats for Mr McCully and a staff member were $4000 cheaper than a business class seat on the only other suitable flight.

The total costs for Mr Key, Mr McCully and Mr Groser to attend Apec were $169,319, although that price included Mr Key's subsequent trip to London.

Other large individual trips included Mr Key's $37,773 trip to the East Asia Summit in Thailand - which was abruptly cancelled because of protesters - and then to China.

Mr McCully's trip in April to the Hague in the Netherlands for a meeting on Afghanistan and then to Washington DC cost $40,157.

Three of Mr Groser's five trips cost more than $40,000.

* Top travellers

Foreign Minister Murray McCully:

$175,834 - 11 trips, including $35,230 for November Apec meeting in Peru, $40,157 in April to go to the Hague for meeting on Afghanistan and then to USA for meetings with US Administration)

Trade Minister Tim Groser:

$172,503 - five trips, including Poland for UN climate change conference and Switzerland ($48,421), meeting of trade ministers in Switzerland and trade visits in Belgium and Germany ($40,132), and trade meetings in India and Thailand ($40,050).

Prime Minister John Key:

$148,595 - including $96,841 for Apec meeting in Peru and London, $37,773 to East Asia Summit in Thailand and then to China

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne:

$31,671 - two trips, including Vienna for UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs ($24,664)

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp:

$28,163 - three trips, including to Poland for Nato Council meeting ($23,802)