Health Minister David Clark has fronted to media after going quiet during the nurses' strike.
While the minister was quick to rule out money for increased salaries for nurses, he was careful not directly say whether there's room to budge on additional staff.
He repeatedly said the Government "inherited a whole lot of costs" and it must have money set aside in case of disasters.
But he would not directly say whether there would be an offer of increased staffing.
Dr Clark's absence during the strike has been noted by media. On Friday he revealed he was away for 33 hours from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening because he was taking his family overseas.
"I was not on holiday as was reported," he said.
"I had a commitment to take my family overseas to a holiday. I transported them overseas and came straight back."
He insisted he was "in connection" with staff the whole way through - though he said he did not break any civil aviation rules by using his cell phone.