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Maximising Canterbury's role

22 October 2004

Maximising Canterbury's role as the gateway to the Antarctic

"Christchurch businesses involved in Antarctic activities are to benefit from the production of a strategy and action plan, designed to make the most of the city’s position as an international gateway to Antarctica," Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic Development, and local MP, announced today.

A grant of $80,190 from the Ministry of Economic Development's Regional Initiatives Fund has been provided for this work to contribute towards the cost of the project, which is jointly funded with the Canterbury Development Corporation.

“The Antarctic connection has been a great asset to Christchurch and special relationships have been built up between people working together over many years. In developing the action plan consideration will be given to new opportunities which will enhance New Zealand's reputation as an Antarctic Gateway and new international science projects will be explored.”

“Canterbury has a strong link to Antarctica through science, logistics and education. This provides us with opportunities that have significant spin-offs for the people of Christchurch with the development of new business and research projects.

The scheme, called 'Project Antarctica' will be managed by the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), with support from the Ministry of Economic Development. It is the pilot project of Prosperous Christchurch, an umbrella organisation of key institutions in Christchurch and Canterbury.

Project Antarctica aims to enhance Christchurch’s presence in Antarctic support and logistics work, by assessing the future growth of Antarctic-related scientific and commercial activities, and identifying what needs to be done to bring more of those activities to Christchurch. It will also help regional stakeholders coordinate their work and consider projects that benefit the wider region.

The strategy will ensure that Christchurch is in a strong position to consolidate existing relationships, and to develop new ones. This will enhance the potential to attract overseas funding for Antarctic science activities, grow logistics services, and increase investment in, and revenue from, spin-off commercial activities.


The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. Each application is sent to the Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development for approval.

On average 20 projects through RIF are funded in each year. RIF grants range in value between $28,000 to $200,000 with most between $50,000 and $70,000. The majority of RIF grants are paid to territorial local authorities. In some cases, the council holds the money on behalf of groups that are not a legal entity.

Each application is based on partial funding on a case-by-case basis. A ‘local contribution’ is an essential part of any RIF application.

The Regional Initiatives Fund provides catalyst funding for regional projects that fall outside the criteria of existing government assistance programmes, but have the potential to leverage economic growth as well as meet government objectives for economic, social and environmental development. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

Funding is only paid out on the completion of agreed milestones, and is monitored by the Ministry of Economic Development.


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