The cost of New Zealand's bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council is running into millions of dollars.
But in a game where a country's case to secure one of the two coveted non-permanent seats is usually backed by tens of millions of dollars in aid money, Prime Minister John Key insists there is no open cheque book.
Key is in New York this week for the UN general assembly and has been on a frenetic whirl of cocktail functions and bilateral engagements in a bid to glad hand as many world leaders as possible in support of New Zealand's bid.
The pace has been so hectic Key wasn't even sure who he was meeting today - he told reporters he was set to meet Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon, but he is not even in New York.
But New Zealand is up against Turkey and Spain, whose pockets are far deeper.
Key said both countries were "almost certainly" spending more than New Zealand on their bids.
"So they may well really ramp up their aid in certain countries they may want to vote for them. We are running a very old fashioned campaign."
But that did not mean New Zealand was completely out of the game of trading aid or diplomacy for votes.
New Zealand was broadening its diplomatic representation in some areas and it had engaged in "agricultural diplomacy" where possible - Lesotho, for instance, had a wool industry and New Zealand would provide some expertise and people to help develop the sector.
"So we're not spending dramatically huge money compared with some of the campaigns we've seen ... it will be millions and millions over time," Key said.
"But you go back to the point why do we do all this and it gives New Zealand engagement and relevancy with a lot of countries around the world. If you're on the security council you're In the chair, both as literally chairing the security council for a month and also you very engaged with those world issues and I think it helps the development of your country."
To win a seat on the council New Zealand needs 129 votes out of 193 and believes it has more than 100.
Australia, which won a non permanent seat last year, reportedly spent close to $30 million on its bid though Key said that was nothing like the real figure.
"I think in the end they spent a hell of a lot more than that from some of the numbers they told me. But we'll be spending considerably less than Australia. We won't be dramatically changing either our aid budget or our footprint. There's one of two places we're slightly broadening out our foot print and that makes sense ... as part of our long term agenda."
- © Fairfax NZ News