REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s NDP opposition is questioning a substantial increase in out of province travel costs for Premier Scott Moe and his cabinet.

The NDP say the premier’s travel bill for 2019 came to $84,868. It says that’s nearly double the $45,628 that former Premier Brad Wall spent on travel during his last full year in office. Cabinet travel is also up according to the NDP.

The opposition says ministers spent a combined total of $321,248 last year, a 53 per cent increase from 2018. The NDP is questioning the merit of some of the trips. It cites a $4,000 charter flight bill for a trip the Premier took two months ago from his Shellbrook constituency to Regina. The government says it was to make a flight connection for a meeting with the Prime Minister in Ottawa.

“We don’t know why that needed to happen, why he couldn’t have flown out of Saskatoon which is an hour from Shellbrook, much easier to do on the road that way,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said.

A government spokesperson says the charter flight was necessary because of scheduling conflicts, and that Moe almost always drives from Shellbrook to Regina. The spokesperson says the NDP has forgotten the entitlement and secrecy of its former government going back more than a decade ago.

“Our government has reduced travel expenses by 53 per cent in 2018-2019 compared to the last year of their NDP government in 2006-2007," the province said in a written statement to CTV News Regina. "This includes a reduction of out-of-province trips by 68 per cent or 89 fewer trips in 2018-19 compared to the NDP in 2006-2007. Further, the previous NDP government had no public disclosure of out-of-province travel expenses, whatsoever.”

The NDP has asked for a detailed accounting of ministerial travel expenses, including airline and hotel bills.

The government says there will be a cost associated for the research. It is asking the NDP to pay over $4000.00 for the detailed travel records.