Prime Minister does not defend minister over national travel spending

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a minister who spent more than she did on travel within New Zealand in the last quarter is "hugely regretful".

Minister for Building and Construction and Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa spent $30,016 on travel within New Zealand in the last quarter.

"The minister would not want me to stand here and excuse it because she herself was hugely disappointed and is working to fix it," Ms Ardern said on Monday.

"It's not something you get a tally of daily. When she realised the figures she has undertaken to make sure it doesn't happen again and I know she's hugely regretful at the situation."

Ms Ardern said the high level of spending was partly due to the minister using contracted transport options, which were more expensive than ministerial vehicles, due to her relative ranking.

The minister also spent time within the last quarter travelling back on forth to Hamilton, when there were problems with the Tongan community during a sports tournament.

"It's fair to say she does hold a portfolio that does require her to attend multiple events, I think she was at six over the weekend as ethnic affairs spokesperson," Ms Ardern said.

Her big spending was followed by minister Shane Jones, who also spent more than the Prime Minister - clocking up $27,296 on travel within New Zealand.