Provincial Growth Fund staff spent an average of $8900 each on travel, food and accommodation in one year, new figures show.
The National Party wants Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones to explain why the fund's 116 staff needed to spend that much money.
Figures supplied to National by the minister's office show officials from the Provincial Development Unit, which oversees the fund, spent $1.03m on travel, accommodation, meals, and incidentals in the 2018/19 financial year.
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Some $844,631 of that was on travel - more than $7000 per staff member, on average.
A further $187,389 was spent on accommodation, meals and other expenses - that figure was not broken down further.
Jones said officials needed to move around the country but admitted that "a million dollars is a huge amount of money to the average Joe".
"I'll be telling the MBIE CEO: 'Less mega burgers, more rations and hardtack'".
He told the Herald officials needed to move around the country to work on projects in isolated areas.
"I personally don't sign off the travel budget, but I'm not going to walk back or walk away from the fact that obviously travel is happening on behalf of our government programme and whilst I don't want people desk bound in Wellington and not interacting in the provinces, it's important that they justify each and every trip that they take."
Chris Bishop, the Opposition spokesman for issues related to the fund, said most Kiwis would find those figures "outrageous".
"Shane Jones and his staff splurged more than a million dollars in one year on fancy hotels, steak dinners and Koru Lounge memberships. Surely there's a better use for that money."
Bishop said nobody would begrudge officials travelling - "they can't do everything from their desks" – but the "eye-watering" expenses deserved an explanation from Jones.
"The PGF has suffered from a lack of transparency since day one. It has taken endless questioning by National to penetrate the layers of Government obfuscation and find out what's really going on."
Jones said PGF was a $3 billion programme and while he didn't want to trivialise the amount of $1 million, the programme required "quite a lot of effort from officials and various other consultants."