Peters: Launch of the Tangaroa Polar Year voyage
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
29 January 2008
Launch of the
Tangaroa Polar Year voyage
Speech via video link
From Scott Base,
Antarctica, 5pm, January 29
Prime Minister Helen Clark; Italian Ambassador Liana Marolla; United States Ambassador William McCormick; Professor Michael Stoddard, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure to speak to you today via a video link from New Zealand’s Antarctic research station at Scott Base, where we arrived only hours ago.
Antarctica is important to New Zealand for many reasons. It dominates our geographical position and our climate, and we have taken a strong interest in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean since the heroic age of polar exploration over a century ago.
Just seven days ago, we farewelled New Zealand’s own Antarctic hero, Sir Edmund Hillary, who counted among his many achievements being a major player in the establishment of Scott Base.
Today, we are near the mid-point of the fourth International Polar Year. The last International Polar Year 50 years ago, known as the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1959, led to the Antarctic Treaty.
New Zealand took an active part in the development of that Treaty, and we continue to be committed to maintaining its credibility, relevance and effectiveness.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR, is a key part of the Treaty system, responsible for the management of the fisheries around Antarctica including the Ross Sea.
Good policy needs good science, and the Tangaroa’s voyage as part of the International Polar Year’s Census of Antarctic Marine Life, will provide essential information for CCAMLR about the biodiversity and functioning of the Ross Sea ecosystem.
New Zealand strives for a balance between well managed, sustainable harvesting in the Ross Sea, and the safeguarding of its long-term ecological viability and biodiversity.
Finally, it is particularly pleasing that scientists from the United States and Italy are part of the Tangaroa’s voyage.
New Zealand has a long record of close and successful cooperation with both countries on Antarctic matters, and long may the relationships continue.
We wish all of those on board Tangaroa for this major scientific endeavour the greatest success.