Government announce $344M for Scott Base revamp
The Government has announced a major redevelopment of Scott Base in Antarctica which will create hundreds of jobs in today’s Budget.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says the revamp will bring economic benefits to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Jobs created will peak at 170 jobs during the busiest period of construction and more than 700 jobs over six years total.
These jobs will be located predominantly in the Canterbury region, New Zealand’s gateway to Antarctica, and will include design, construction, logistic and project management roles.
Aotearoa New Zealand has had a presence in the Ross Dependency since 1957 and has direct connections to the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton over 100 years ago.
“This investment through Budget 2021 will ensure Scott Base remains a place where our scientists can conduct world-leading science safely and effectively. Their research to understand how climate change affects Antarctica, and the flow-on impacts to Aotearoa New Zealand and the rest of the world, is critically important,” says Mahuta.
“Investment in Scott Base’s infrastructure, above day-to-day maintenance, is overdue. The outdated buildings and facilities that keep the residents alive in the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth have deteriorated. Doing nothing would eventually lead to the closure of the base,” she says.
The funding includes capital investment of $306 million, including the replacement of the wind farm. There are also project operating costs of $38 million.
Antarctica New Zealand says it is thrilled the Government has committed such extensive funding to rebuilding New Zealand’s home in Antarctica.
“This funding is vital to secure New Zealand’s future in Antarctica and our ability to continue to support world-leading science,” says Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Sarah Williamson says it’s a significant milestone.
“The Scott Base Redevelopment project is the biggest project we’ve ever embarked on, and as well as future proofing our home on the ice, it brings many millions of dollars to the Canterbury economy.”
The redevelopment project remains subject to Cabinet’s endorsement of the implementation plan for the project. It will also be subject to a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation under the Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994 following consideration by Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties, as well as by Aotearoa New Zealand public.