Booze tops New Zealand exports to Antarctica

2021-07-23 01:01:28

New Zealand has exported $80,000 value of stuffed toys, nearly $20,000 value of chocolate and a staggering $1.5 million value of alcohol to Antarctica since 1990.

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Photograph: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

Of all New Zealand’s exports to Antarctica, alcohol topped the spending checklist, plane got here second – and included a $1.2 million helicopter – gear and gas was third and clothes fourth.

Fifth on the checklist is toys. Jigsaws accounted for $3000 of the quantity spent, over $7500 was spent on dolls, and $80,000 was spent on stuffed animals since 1990.

Are chilly, lonely scientists cuddling as much as teddy bears to get by way of the night time?

Antarctica New Zealand’s communications specialist Georgia Nelson mentioned this guess wasn’t fairly on the cash. A present store on the base with necessities, like toothpaste, shampoo additionally has delicate toy souvenirs.

“There are additionally souvenirs like emperor penguin delicate toys, key rings, t-shirts – the standard present store sort stuff. Individuals who go to Scott Base typically decide up just a few issues for his or her household and pals again house, or themselves to recollect their time in Antarctica. Our neighbours from the US McMurdo Station additionally come over infrequently and go to the store.”

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Scott Base’s present store
Photograph: RNZ / Provided

The penguins and different stuffed animal counterparts are in style, with nearly $13,000 value exported to Antarctica in 2020.

RNZ uncovered Antarctica’s penchant for New Zealand’s stuffed toys and different items throughout knowledge evaluation for the collection Who’s Consuming New Zealand?

The info from StatsNZ would not present whether or not the entire exports went to New Zealand’s Scott Base, which homes as much as 86 folks throughout summer time months and about roughly 12 in winter, or to different bases in Antarctica.

Nelson mentioned the information solely captures meals bought on the store akin to “the odd packet of chips and luggage of pineapple lumps” not the meals the employees eat at mealtimes.

Goodies high the checklist at $19,495, “potatoes, ready” are subsequent at $12,641, simply above sweets, at $12,284.

“Diet is a vital a part of protecting our folks secure and effectively in Antarctica. Our cooks present wholesome, well-balanced cooked meals utilizing a combination of contemporary and frozen produce (relying on the time of 12 months) for everybody on base,” mentioned Nelson.

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She additionally identified the $1.5m spend on alcohol is unfold over three a long time and accounts for a whole lot of various folks, together with folks from different Antarctic bases.

For instance, Thursday nights are “American Night time” at Scott Base’s bar and shuttles convey punters from the USA’ close by McMurdo Station, which homes as much as 1000 folks, to Scott Base. Because of Covid-19 there at the moment are restrictions on the weekly custom.

There are stories of NZ alcohol at different bases too, though it is unclear whether or not these bases bought it or have been gifted it. In keeping with US publication The Atlantic, the US-run Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station’s bar runs an honour system, the place punters can to take some alcohol and depart some. “The system did not work completely, although — they have been out of all however their worst beer (New Zealand’s Export Gold) two months earlier than the top of the winter,” the article mentioned.

Regardless of the $1.5m spend, Antarctica shouldn’t be a giant export vacation spot for New Zealand’s alcohol producers.

Since 1990 New Zealand has exported alcohol to a complete of 173 completely different nations or markets. Australia is the largest purchaser, spending $6.5 billion between 1990 and 2020, adopted by the UK and the USA. The highest three nations symbolize round 76 p.c of complete export income from alcohol. Antarctica ranks simply seventy fifth. The Vatican Metropolis State’s is second to final on the checklist, having made a one-off buy in 2011 of $1272 value of wine and liqueur. The previous Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is final with one 2007 buy of liqueur.

Knowledge from the United Nations, which works again to 2000, reveals New Zealand ranks second to Australia for wine exports to Antarctica.

Consuming an excessive amount of in a spot the place the temperature drops to -49C will be extremely harmful and Antarctica New Zealand’s basic supervisor of communications and folks, Megan Nicholl, mentioned the organisation has a zero alcohol restrict for employees throughout work hours and when driving. At Scott Base, alcohol can solely be consumed within the bar, or the eating room.

Employees are additionally provided a wellness information, which incorporates details about alcohol, earlier than arriving at Scott Base.

“We’ve a Scott Base management crew who lead and coach employees each day. In the event that they, or anybody else on base notices somebody is battling alcohol and wishes assist, or every other concern, we offer EAP [employee assistance programme] who’ve an alcohol referral course of which would supply professional assist to that individual.”

If an incident happens Nicholl mentioned the primary precedence is to make sure individuals are secure, earlier than a disciplinary process is undertaken.

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