Scott Base Redevelopment announcementDeputy Prime Minister Foreign Affairs
Thank you for your invitation.
It is a pleasure to formally announcement two significant decisions in the interest of Scott Base and our Antarctic interests.
These two decisions combined represent a major milestone.
The first is that Cabinet has determined a favoured design concept for the redevelopment of Scott Base in Antarctica.
The second is that as part of Budget 2019 the Government committed $18.5 million for the next phase in the design development of the base.
Together they are significant steps.
It is, as they say, not rocket science to appreciate this is an agreement in principle to secure the future of Scott Base as a fit for purpose capability.
Cabinet examined four design options for the base. We selected an option which enhances science and operational capabilities, improves the living conditions for staff, and future proofs the base for the next 50 years.
Scott Base is vital for the future of New Zealand’s science programme and for our work with upholding the Antarctica Treaty system, with 2019 marking the 60th year the Treaty was signed.
And of course the base it is part of our cultural history from when Sir Ed Hillary first founded Scott Base in 1957, and decided to head off to the South Pole on a tractor.
The redevelopment of the base will further invigorate our Antarctica New Zealand operations in Christchurch.
And we all look forward to working closely with the United States Antarctic Programme through the Joint Logistics Pool.
While Cabinet has agreed in principle to the design concept, a final implementation business plan is required to be presented to Cabinet, and the total project cost will be subject to a future budget round.
Antarctica New Zealand of course has a further $18 million to spend over the next two years.
It means the detailed design of the new base can be completed and the Scott Base Redevelopment team can start working with the construction industry on how best to deliver the preferred design.
It is critical to get this work underway now, as the climate and logistical challenges mean construction projects take longer to deliver in Antarctica.
The design would see the existing base, last renovated the early 80s and made up of 12 separate buildings, replaced by three large interconnected buildings and a separate helicopter hangar.
The new base will be able to accommodate up to 100 people at a time.
Of the three buildings one is designated for accommodation, dining and welfare, the second for science and management and the third for engineering and storage.
We should mention Architects Jasmax and Hugh Broughton who came up with the architectural design.
The designers have been focused on a new Scott Base which will keep people safe and healthy, and ensure they are focused on their work.
In conclusion, this project demonstrates a commitment to scientific discovery of global significance.
It will be an asset to the contribution made by this country to science and the preservation of the Antarctic Treaty.
We are now looking forward to working with Antarctica New Zealand and their stakeholders as we continue the journey of designing and implementing this extraordinary project.