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Ministers To Antarctica

Cabinet Ministers Phil Goff, Pete Hodgson, Marian Hobbs and Matt Robson will make a three-day familiarisation visit Antarctica next week, from Wednesday 24 to Saturday 27 January.

The visit has been planned by Antarctica New Zealand to give the ministers a first-hand understanding and appreciation of New Zealand's activities and interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Antarctica New Zealand is responsible for New Zealand's activities in the region. Current issues include strong international interest in fishing in the Ross Sea, increasing diversification in tourism, and opportunities for New Zealand involvement in or leadership of international science, environmental and education projects.

New Zealand's aim is to take a strong environmental stewardship and science role in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

The ministers will stay at Scott Base and be guided by Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Gillian Wratt and chairman Chris Mace on field visits to research sites. The projects include atmospheric, aquatic ecosystem, wildlife and environmental impact research.

As Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Goff is responsible for Antarctica New Zealand, while Mr Hodgson (Fisheries, Science, Climate Change, Associate Foreign Affairs), Mr Robson (Associate Foreign Affairs) and Ms Hobbs (Environment, Biosecurity) have portfolio interests in Antarctic issues.

Ends

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