A $158,000 tour of Europe for MPs includes paying for National MP Lockwood Smith's wife to accompany him.
The cost of the annual Speaker's tour includes business class fares to Europe and $48,000 on hotel bills and incidentals during a two-week sweep through Britain, Belgium and Croatia.
Four MPs, Smith's wife, Alexandra, and Smith's secretary are on the trip.
Smith said his wife was accompanying MPs on the tour because she had a "representational role".
Smith announced the trip last week after the group had left and said it would "invigorate" political and historical ties with Europe.
Other MPs on the trip are National's Melissa Lee, Labour's Darien Fenton, Green MP Gareth Hughes and NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke.
None of the other MPs' spouses were travelling with the delegation.
Prime Minister John Key said the MPs were expected to be "cautious" about what they spend - but he does not have a problem with the total bill.
"Even in very tight financial times it's worth remembering the Government spends $71 billion a year, so some small expenditure in linking our democracies with others makes sense, but obviously we expect them to be cautious with how they spend."
A spokesman for the Clerk of the House said the tour was an integral part of New Zealand's inter-parliamentary relations programme.
"Parliaments have a role to play in the sphere of foreign policy, promoting international cooperation and democratic values."
And the New Zealand Government was of great interest internationally.
"The Speaker's delegation is a core element in sharing information about these strengths. Representation from different political parties adds value through reflecting the divergent views of members."
The delegation has been in London for the past few days.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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