Antarctica becomes hotspot for politicians

  • 14/11/2016
John Kerry found time to visit New Zealand's Scott Base (Antarctica NZ / Facebook)
John Kerry found time to visit New Zealand's Scott Base (Antarctica NZ / Facebook)

Politicians are jetting into Antarctica in numbers.

Justice Minister Amy Adams, who is MP for Selwyn near Christchurch, heads down there on Monday just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest ranking US official to visit Antarctica.

And Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is going there later in the week.

Mr Kerry was a guest of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) but found time to visit New Zealand's Scott Base.

Antarctic NZ posted photographs of Mr Kerry looking at ice cores in a freezer, which are part of research by New Zealand scientists into climate change.

There's also a photo of him visiting the base shop with souvenirs on display.

At a media conference in Wellington on Sunday he said the trip to Antarctica was "awe inspiring".

Mr Kerry addressed NSF staff, researchers and support personnel in a question-and-answer session at McMurdo Station, one of three year-round stations NSF runs as manager of the US Antarctic Program.

He talked about the need for continued international cooperation and scientific study of the environment and ecology as made possible under the Antarctic Treaty, to which the US is a signatory, and in a recent agreement establishing a Ross Sea Marine Protected Area.

Media have reported on how Mr Kerry was a long way from the US when the election was held and how out-of-step his focus on climate change is with the incoming administration.

People gathered in Marrakech for the UN's annual climate conference were left in shock and disbelief that the US could elect a climate-change denier as president, The Guardian reports.

Mr Kerry is headed to the conference.