Top Treasury officials have apologised for a mistake in pre-Budget documents that said the National Government was spending twice as much on travel as the Labour Administration it replaced.
It turns out National spent less.
Yesterday afternoon, the Treasury issued corrected figures showing Labour ministers' travel bill between December 2007 and February last year was $783,000 - much more than the $336,000 quoted in pre-Budget briefing papers to Finance Minister Bill English.
The figure of $739,000 for National ministers' travel costs from December last year to February this year was correct.
The faulty figures caused embarrassment for National and Prime Minister John Key, who was forced to defend the difference in the figures as being the result of a new Government seeking to build international relationships.
Labour leader Phil Goff used the figures to accuse National of hypocrisy, saying its ministers were happy to "spend up large on themselves" but demanded spending cuts from Government departments.
The Herald reports that Treasury officials will apologise to John Key and Bill English for the gaffe. Oh, what we would give to be a fly on the wall when that meeting takes place! Also corrected have been spending figures for ministerial cars, and guess what? Yep, that's right - Labour was once again the bigger spender - quelle surprise!