Staff at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spent up to $4.7 million on domestic travel and more than $600,000 on overseas trips, documents show.

The now-disestablished group, set up after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, spent up to $1.9 million on domestic flights between Christchurch and Wellington alone from 2011 to last year.

The figures were released under the Official Information Act to

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which has taken over Cera's duties, said Cera's head office was based in Christchurch so staff regularly had to travel out of the city to attend important meetings.


"Due to the need to meet other key government agencies, attend Cabinet meetings and ministerial meetings as required, domestic travel between Christchurch and Wellington was undertaken on a regular basis," a spokesman told

"The use of tele-conferencing and video-conferencing was encouraged as much as possible."

It is understood the travel costs included flights, accommodation and other expenses.

Other travel costs revealed in the OIA included a trip by two senior members of the Christchurch Central Development Unit to Washington for a US-NZ Pacific Partnership forum. The total cost was almost $33,000.

Four staff were also sent to the UK and US, at a cost of almost $60,000.