Budget 2021 safeguards the future of Scott Base

Foreign Affairs

A major redevelopment of Scott Base will create hundreds of jobs while ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand’s presence in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is safeguarded.

The redevelopment will bring economic benefits to Aotearoa New Zealand, with 170 jobs involved at the peak of the construction and more than 700 jobs over six years. 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,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“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 The outdated buildings and facilities that keep the residents alive in the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth have deteriorated.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” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The funding includes capital investment of $306 million, including the replacement of the windfarm. There are also project operating costs of $38 million.

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.