New funding of $9.6 million in Budget 2017 will see New Zealand’s presence in Antarctica continue while cementing the Government’s commitment to the continent, Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
$2.1 million operating funding over the next two years and $4 million capital will be allocated to the future redevelopment of Scott Base.
This will allow for the development of a building design and implementation plan to redevelop Scott Base when the present facility reaches the end of its life – expected to be within 10 years.
“Scott Base provides a permanent presence in Antarctica that underpins New Zealand’s strategic interests,” Mr Brownlee says.
“A revamped Scott Base will allow us to continue providing safe and effective logistics and also support the high-quality Antarctic science relevant to New Zealand’s policy and interests.
“By maintaining a credible presence in Antarctica, our ability to safeguard the environment will continue, as will our influence in the Antarctic Treaty System.”
$3.5 million of operating funding over the next four years will be provided towards office accommodation at the National Antarctic Programmes in Christchurch.
“The Christchurch-based programmes are part of our contribution to a joint logistics pool for Antarctic research,” Mr Brownlee says.
“The United States, Italian and Korean Antarctic Programme activities greatly benefit Christchurch and New Zealand.”
“Their continued economic and scientific commitments to the city are significant and it is important that Christchurch remains an attractive and viable centre for their operations.”