Kiwis at Scott Base are offering support to neighbouring
McMurdo base as it runs out of money because of the US
The partial shut down, which began on October 1, has stopped
funding to the American's Antarctic Programme.
The programme, funded through the US National Science
Foundation (NSF), is responsible for running three American
bases on the continent.
Kiwis working at New Zealand's Scott Base, about 3km away
from the US McMurdo base, may be affected by the funding pull
- with money expected to run out completely for the Americans
in about five days.
A statement from the NSF said support for its Antarctic
staff, facilities, transportation and logistics services
would likely lapse on or about October 14.
"Without additional funding, NSF has directed its Antarctic
support contractor to begin planning and implementing
caretaker status for research stations, ships and other
assets," a statement from the foundation said.
"Under caretaker status, the USAP (US Antarctic Programme)
will be staffed at a minimal level to ensure human safety and
preserve government property, including the three primary
research stations, ships and associated research facilities.
All field and research activities not essential to human
safety and preservation of property will be suspended."
The safety and health of deployed staff would continue to be
a key priority, the NSF said.
Antarctica New Zealand, which manages Scott Base, said it
anticipated the US funding lapse would have a "minimal
impact"on its programme.
A spokeswoman said it was too early to tell what activities
could be affected.
Contingency plans were being developed to minimise any
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Antarctica New
Zealand's Board Chair, who are currently in Antarctica, have
offered New Zealand's support to the US Antarctic Program,"
the spokeswoman said.
"Antarctica New Zealand is conscious of the operational
challenges the US Antarctic Program is facing at this time
and we remain committed to our strong partnership with them.
The organisation's had been assured by its US counterpart,
commitments involving both nations would continue to be a
priority, the spokeswoman said.