Senior Labour MP Ruth Dyson says her recent holiday in Ethiopia was not a "last hurrah" before the axing of the MPs' international travel perk, but she concedes it was wrong and has repaid just under $16,000.

Ms Dyson, who returned from the trip with her husband on Sunday, said she did not think the subsidised journey was appropriate while so many families were on Struggle St.

"Over the past month or so, there have been more and more stories about Kiwis struggling to pay their weekly bills and put food on the table. MPs must show a lead in terms of spending," she said.

Ms Dyson and husband Martin Ward were entitled to a 90 per cent subsidy on international air travel under parliamentary rules that were axed in November.

But applications processed before then were still valid, and some MPs were suspected of taking a final holiday before the rules changed.

Ms Dyson's travel costs were revealed in the Parliamentary Service's latest release of expenses, covering the last three months of 2010.

The cost of her air travel spiked to $28,731 in this quarter.

The figures suggested National MP Shane Ardern, whose air travel costs ballooned to $18,892 for the period, also had one last trip.

He has refused to comment on whether he went on a taxpayer-funded holiday.

Ms Dyson said the Ethiopia trip was not intended as a final use of the perk, because she had applied for the funding last July before the rules changed.

"However, I felt uncomfortable about the subsidy all the while I was overseas, and when I got back yesterday I informed Labour leader Phil Goff I would be repaying the subsidy of just under $16,000, and making a statement about it."

Mr Goff said he was aware that Ms Dyson's expenditure was higher than average.

"Last month, she had the chance to think about it ... I think Ruth has done absolutely the right thing in deciding that she will refund that money."

Mr Goff said he did not put pressure on her to repay the money.

"She is not a frequent user of travel privileges, but she understands that it's the wrong thing to do."

He said the use of the perk did not play a part in Ms Dyson's demotion in a caucus reshuffle this month.

She was dropped a place in the caucus rankings, stripped of the heavyweight health portfolio and given immigration, conservation and state services instead.