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No help for struggling foreign-owned news media

The long-awaited second tranche of media assistance has been kicked to touch with no decision likely to be made on it before the election.

This view is shared by both Coalition partners New Zealand First and Labour, with the former raising its concerns that a second package could amount to a bailout of benefit for foreign-owned media companies.

A spokesperson for NZ First said the party believed in a free press, but was concerned about New Zealand taxpayers bailing out foreign companies.

“NZ First believes a free, open and independent news media in New Zealand is an essential part of a healthy democracy,” the spokesperson said.

“However, we do not believe in propping up foreign-owned companies and question the prudence of the New Zealand government arbitrarily pouring money into a largely foreign-owned industry.”

The NZ First spokesperson did not rule out further support for the industry, but suggested the party would like more structural change.

”As New Zealand’s fourth estate was already in dire straits pre-Covid, we believe a clear, long-term strategy on how to halt the industry’s current trajectory is required to ensure the government does not waste millions of taxpayers’ dollars,” they said.

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