The Prime Minister has defended the $53.3 million price tag for New Zealand's pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, saying we don't want to "be there with a tin shed and a cup of cold Milo".
The money which will come from next month's budget will pay for a pavilion that will promote New Zealand goods and services.
Speaking on TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, Bill English says the money will be well spent promoting ourselves on the world stage.
"If we want to be there (World Expo 2020) with a tin shed and a cup of cold Milo well that'll be a lot cheaper, but actually we don't," Mr English said.
"We want to be there like the confident country with a strong export base that's doing well – that's the country we are."
The $53 million investment also comes with New Zealand close to completing a long-awaited free trade deal with the host nation, the UAE, and five other Gulf States.
"We're a small trading nation, we need to be in front of the world, we have to push our case," Mr English said.
"We spend a lot of money every year promoting New Zealand around the world …. because exports are the lifeblood of the country and in that context this isn't a large amount of money."
The spend on the expo has been met with criticism from the Green Party and ACT.