Key to visit Antarctica

21:01, Jan 13 2013

Prime Minister John Key will visit Antarctica this week, to visit science and environmental programmes, as well as US bases on the continent.

During the five day trip, on which he will be accompanied by wife Bronagh and Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon, Key will also participate in a ceremony celebrating the installation of Maori artwork at Scott Base.

"New Zealand has a history of ground-breaking exploration, scientific discovery and involvement in Antarctica, and I am looking forward to meeting the New Zealanders who work there," Key said, adding that the trip would provide an opportunity ''to see first-hand the issues facing Antarctica and the Southern Ocean''.

Key will visit US bases at the South Pole and McMurdo Station to ''reaffirm the close relationship'' the two countries share in Antarctica.

"New Zealand and the United States have worked closely together in Antarctica for more than 50 years.

"Enhanced marine protection for the Ross Sea region, deeper research collaboration and improving the efficiency of our Antarctic programmes are among our current priorities."

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