Speaker Lockwood Smith will tomorrow meet the Parliamentary Service Commission to discuss potential changes to the rebate system used by MPs for international travel.

The rebate scheme by which MPs can claim up to 90 percent for themselves and spouses on personal international travel has become a distraction, and there is a groundswell of support by MPs to have it changed or abolished.

Prime Minister John Key wanted it scrapped following an admission from National Party MP Pansy Wong she and her husband Sammy travelled to China in 2008 using the subsidy and conducted private business while there -- something Parliamentary rules forbid.

Other MPs have got themselves in trouble over their use of the subsidy, and Mr Key said it was getting to the stage where public confidence in Parliament was being undermined.

The subsidy is funded from MPs' overall salary packages, and Mr Key said it would be a complex job to readjust salary levels if it was abolished, but his own view was that he would be comfortable if there was no recourse at all.

Less independently wealthy MPs may no be so happy with that, but Mr Key said Cabinet was unanimous in its view the scheme should be scrapped.

Labour leader Phil Goff said it was time drastic action was taken.

``I think the travel perk in terms of overseas holidays is gone,'' he said.

Mr Goff said the Remuneration Authority should make decisions independently, and ``good, bad or indifferent members of Parliament should accept that decision'', including letting it decide on any salary changes.

Both Mr Goff and Mr Key have said there was a case for the wider issue of MPs' salaries and general allowances to be overhauled by an independent body.

Mr Key said a forthcoming Law Commission report would allow further debate on the matter.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said a motion in Parliament calling for a thorough, independent review of expenses and allowances had been blocked by National.

``The public deserve a system that is simple, clear and fair. Our proposal is that an independent body be set up and asked to develop a system that promotes transparency and clearly separates remuneration and legitimate work expenses,'' Ms Turei said.

Dr Smith said today he would consult with the Parliamentary Service Commission, as required by law, before deciding whether changes should be made to the international travel rebate system.

``I will meet with the commission tomorrow evening. I will have no further comment until I have completed that consultation.''

Meanwhile, Labour MP Pete Hodgson said the cost of housing ministers in Wellington had risen by more than 8 percent in one year, following changes that were made to the housing allowance system when a review was ordered by Mr Key last year.

- NZPA