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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the government agency responsible for New Zealand’s overall interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It:
New Zealand enjoys a close relationship with Antarctica, not only because of its geographic proximity, but because of its history of ground-breaking exploration and scientific discovery there. Since 1923, New Zealand has also maintained its right of sovereignty over the Ross Dependency, an area defined as all islands and territories south of 60 degrees south latitude and between the 160th degree of east longitude and the 150th degree of west longitude.
New Zealand was an original signatory of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) comprises the Treaty, its Protocol on Environmental Protection (1991), the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980) and all the measures, resolutions and decisions adopted annually by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The New Zealand Government has developed procedures for tourists and non-governmental visitors wishing to visit Antarctica, based on the requirements of the Protocol on Environmental Protection. For any proposed activity in Antarctica, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be submitted to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Current EIAs are open to the public.
Links to legislation relevant to New Zealand's interest in Antarctica.