19 Jan 2013

NZ willing to spend more on ice drill programme

9:45 pm on 19 January 2013

Prime Minister John Key says the Government is likely to increase the amount of money New Zealand spends in Antarctica, especially on the Andrill programme jointly funded with the United States.

New Zealand currently spends $26 million a year in Antarctica.

The Andrill project drills through the ice into rocks beneath the seabed, taking samples dating back 50 million years.

Mr Key, who is visiting Scott Base, says it provides critical information about climate change.

He says New Zealand has offered to pay more than its current 12.5% share of the project if the US will contribute more, but cannot fund the project by itself.

Meanwhile, low visibility and snow have forced the cancellation of the Prime Minister's trip to the South Pole.

Whisky returning to resting place

On Saturday afternoon, Mr Key returned three of the world's most famous bottles of whisky to their resting place in Antarctica.

The whisky was discovered, under ice, in the hut of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton in 2007, having lain there for nearly 100 years.

They've since travelled to Scotland so that the liquor in them could be re-created by the company that originally made it.

Mr Key gave them to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, which will now take them back to Shackleton's hut.

The Prime Minister will get to taste the re-created whiskyon Sundaynight when he hosts a dinner for American scientists at Scott Base, celebrating the base's 56th anniversary.