31 Mar 2013

Call for rethink on Antarctic strategy

9:05 am on 31 March 2013

A former Antarctic boss at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says New Zealand needs to overhaul its polar strategy if it wants to remain a key player on the ice.

Stewart Prior headed the Antarctic Policy Unit for four years in the 1990s.

He says the failed Ross Sea protection deal, funding and the growth of developing countries' involvement in Antarctica have seen New Zealand's influence diminishing.

"We have fallen away from the high standards which we set in the past. I think we have to lift our game.

"We have to bring together the science, the aspects, if you like, of virtual access to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. And I think we have to recognise that this is an area where New Zealand really can contribute."