Antarctica: Scott Base's half-a-billion-dollar redevelopment strikes iceberg

Scott Base's half-a-billion-dollar redevelopment in Antarctica appears to have hit a snag.

The commercial manager, whose job is to secure key contracts, has resigned, plus three others have recently quit what should be career-highlight roles.

The $500 million makeover is already running into problems.

"I think that must suggest some serious problem since I don't imagine people resign lightly," said Antarctic governance specialist Alan Hemmings.

Just on Thursday, Antarctica New Zealand advertised a fixed-term commercial manager job online.

It said in a statement: "We are currently recruiting to fill this role which includes setting up the chosen option.

"This role will develop, negotiate and implement contracts for a range of services to support the Scott Base Redevelopment."

In October, it was revealed the organisation had failed to reach an agreement on commercial terms with Leighs Construction.

"Whether that was because more money was required or the development time had blown out, we don't know," Hemmings said.

In 2021, more than $300 million was announced for the project, and that was later topped up to more than half a billion.

Caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Grant Robertson said the project "is experiencing the impacts of local and global cost escalation and supply chain volatility that is consistent with those being experienced by all construction projects".

"It's no surprise to anybody that deadlines slip and budgets need to expand but you expect to see that well into a project, not right at the start," Hemmings said.

Antarctica New Zealand is now considering a range of options on how to meet the 2028 completion date.

"It's not spending its private money, it's spending the taxpayers' money and it seems to me at least entirely reasonable that it explains what on earth is going on," Hemmings said.

Just which direction the redevelopment will go next is due in December.