More funding is being allocated for major redevelopment of Scott Base in Antarctica, it was revealed today in the release of Budget 2021.
The Government is putting aside $306 million to replace windfarm and project operating costs of $38 million.
It's expected to need 170 jobs for peak of construction and 700 overall over six years.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the funding would 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.”
She said investment in Scott Base’s infrastructure was 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“The outdated buildings and facilities that keep the residents alive in the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth have deteriorated.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.”
The project still needs final signoff from both New Zealand and its Antarctic treaty partners. Under the plan, bulldozers would be shipped to Antarctica in the first year and construction would take another six years.
Due to its proximity to Antarctica, New Zealand has been a stop-off point from the days of the earliest explorers through to current US missions. New Zealanders have also been involved in exploration and research for generations.
Associated Press contributed to this report.