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$40.5 million of new operating funding in Budget 2017 will help to reduce the risk to life from natural disasters and hazards, and explore the unique environment of Antarctica, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

The new funding is made up of $19.5 million over four years for natural hazards research, and $21 million over three years from 2018/19 dedicated to Antarctic research. It will be administered through the Government’s Strategic Science Investment Fund.

“These new investments will increase our understanding of the world around us, whether it be fault lines in the South Island, lahar trenches on the Central Plateau, or Antarctic ice that’s several millennia old,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“With the natural hazards funding we will be able to improve New Zealand’s natural hazards monitoring capability by developing new tools to improve the reliability and clarity of disaster alerts and warnings, including a funding boost for planning around events such as tsunamis.

“In particular, we will significantly improve our ability to detect and communicate hazards information on a 24/7 basis, so New Zealanders will be better equipped with both real-time and long-term information about natural hazards.

“New Zealand’s unique and complex geology continues to attract interest from scientists around the globe. This new investment will strengthen our position as world leaders in natural hazards science and improve New Zealand’s international standing as a high-quality R&D destination,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“New Zealand has had a formal presence in Antarctica for over 50 years, and the continent is a hugely important region for research into the natural world in the past, the present, and into the future.

“This funding will provide an enhanced platform for new scientific discoveries by Kiwi researchers in one of the most dangerous, dynamic, and awe-inspiring places in the natural world.”

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