HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says the rebuilding of the Bluenose II -- now over-budget and two years overdue -- has become such a "boondoggle" that he has asked the province's auditor general to investigate.

McNeil says the government submitted a letter today asking for an audit to be completed some time during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

McNeil says the project has been bogged down by lawsuits and political theatre, which he blamed on the previous NDP government.

He says his government's priority is making sure the iconic schooner returns to regular sailing this spring.

McNeil's government has had to deal with a series of tough questions about the Bluenose II project since the Liberals were elected to govern in October.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released documents showing the consortium rebuilding the vessel is routinely adding hefty markups on the bills it submits to the provincial government.