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New Zealand readies legislation to make Google, Meta pay for news content


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

December 7, 2022 | 4 min read

New Zealand will create legislation requiring big digital companies such as Google and Meta to share revenue with local news publishers.

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Meta and Google will be forced to strike revenue deals with New Zealand news publishers under new legislation / Muhammad Asyfaul

The legislation, which will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada, will incentivise online players to reach “high quality voluntary deals with local news outlets”.

New Zealand’s Minister of Broadcasting, Willie Jackson, said the move was “critical” for the country’s news media industry, particularly the Maori, Pacific and ethnic media outlets, which are often overlooked.

“New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online. So it is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it," said Jackson.

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“The reduction in income of our media companies is having an impact on news creation with a significant decline in the number of journalists in New Zealand and a reduction in the production of local news content, so this move is also about helping to ensure we can keep producing New Zealand news and stories.

“We don’t want a system where only the big players can get a deal. The Australian competition regulator found the big online players have substantial bargaining power, so we need legislation to sit behind any voluntary negotiations that helps to level the playing field”.

“While some deals have been reached voluntarily, small regional, rural, Maori and Pacific and ethnic media outlets are likely to miss out, so this is about ensuring everyone gets a fair go”.

Jackson said the legislation will outline negotiations and mandatory bargaining processes and act as a backstop to encourage voluntary agreements.

“It’s not fair that the big digital platforms like Google and Meta get to host and share local news for free. It costs to produce the news, and it’s only fair they pay,” said Jackson.

This approach was used successfully in Australia, which introduced the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in 2021. The code, which was a world-first, was recently deemed a success by the Australian Government.

Australia’s legislation has been closely watched by several countries. Canada has employed a similar approach, with Google agreeing to 150 deals ahead of the introduction of legislation. The UK and the EU are looking to introduce similar legislation, while India, Brazil and The United States are also reportedly considering similar moves.

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