Understanding New Zealand's Antarctic Tourism Policy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
In 2003, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade released the New Zealand Policy Statement on Tourism and Other Non-Governmental Activities in Antarctica. (Appendix 1 ). Commentary by Helen Clark states that this occurred in response to a review of New Zealand's interests, and that the new policy reflects not only enduring interests, but accounts for emerging priorities both nationally and internationally (Clark, cited Conte, 2004, p220). The Director of Heritage Expeditions, the only New Zealand owned and operated tourism business to Antarctica, suggested that the policy will significantly alter the goalposts for New Zealand tourism operators in the Antarctic, and will have a negative impact on New Zealand tourism in the long term (Russ, 2004). Public policy analysis focuses on what governments do and why they do it. It is an important tool in trying to unravel why policies are adopted, how they work, and to evaluate their merit or worth (Buhrs & Bartlett, p3, 1993). This review will cursorily trace the development of New Zealand's strategic objectives in Antarctica over the past 20 years, with a particular focus on Antarctic tourism. It will seek to understand the drivers behind the development of New Zealand's policy on tourism in Antarctica. A previous Graduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies literature review pointed to the paradox between the "tension in the values of stakeholders, often economic, and that of environmental stewardship, which marks the discourse on the future of New Zealand Antarctic Tourism management" (Wouters, year unknown, p1 ). This investigation raises an even more significant issue - it uncovers the risk that Antarctic tourism may present to the Antarctic Treaty System and consequently, to regional stability. This threat to New Zealand security appears to have been the key driver in the development of the New Zealand Policy Statement on Antarctic Tourism and Non-Governmental Activities in Antarctica.