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The New Zealand Government is "keeping a close eye" on a cold web war brewing between Australia and Facebook.
The social media giant this week said it would cut off the ability for its Australian users to share local and international news articles if legislation was passed requiring it and fellow tech behemoth Google to negotiate with media publishers and pay them for content.
Google has also raised issue with the bill being drafted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and said it would result in a "dramatically worse" product for Australians.
Responding to questions from the Herald, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi said the NZ Government and officials were "keeping a close eye on what Australia is doing".
"In my discussions with the Newspaper Publishers Association I have made it clear that we would take our own approach to engaging with digital platforms like Google and Facebook," he said.
"We will look at a range of options to support the function of journalism and the broader media sector in New Zealand that won't necessarily adopt the approach being discussed in Australia at the moment."
Faafoi did not directly comment on Facebook's threat to prevent Australians from sharing news or if the New Zealand Government had received any correspondence from the US company this week on the issue.
Facebook did send an email to the Herald this week announcing its position, which also affects Instagram, and claimed "this is not our first choice - it is our last".
The internet behemoth argued the proposed Australian law misunderstands the relationship between news media and social media and will damage the struggling organisations it is trying to protect.
Facebook products and services in Australia which allow family and friends to connect will not be impacted by its decision.
Last year, Australia also passed the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material Act, which threatened social media companies with large fines and their executives with up to three years in prison if they fail to remove "abhorrent violent material expeditiously."
The legislation was introduced after the Christchurch mosque shootings, which were choreographed by the terrorist for Facebook Live.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, a regular Facebook user, has said social networks have to do more to stop the spread of such material but it remains unclear what, if any, legislative change will be made in New Zealand.
Other governments have tried to force internet companies to pay for using news articles, including Spain in 2014 which passed law requiring publishers to charge Google for their stories appearing on Google News.
But the Silicon Valley company replied by simply shutting down Google News in Spain and removed Spanish publishers from the service.
Last October, Facebook introduced a separate news section in the US, which pays some publishers for content, and has plans to expand the function to other parts of the world.
Toy magnate Nick Mowbray certainly wasn't shy about his global connections this week when commenting for a story on Zuru's new health division.
Asked about helping the New Zealand Government secure protective gear in the fight against Covid-19, he let slip that he's also helped get equipment to New York.
Zuru, he said, partnered with actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds to donate a large quantity of PPE for New York as it battled to control a mass outbreak.
Mowbray, who said he is friends with the A-listers, said Reynolds had called him to ask for the help securing PPE for frontline workers in the United States' most populous city.
Here at home, during the first lockdown, Zuru supplied the Ministry of Health with more than 42 million masks that were rolled out to essential workers. In more recent weeks it has supplied millions more, which have been distributed to retailers and DHBs.
So far, it has supplied the New Zealand Government with 80 million masks, 500,000 face shields, 2.5 million isolation gowns, 2 million examination gloves, 140 million litres of hand sanitiser and 500,000 packets of alcohol wipes.
Change at DB
DB Breweries has added two new members to its executive team, replacing local talent heading offshore.
Jo Mitchell joins the brewer as its new marketing director, while Krithik Ranganathan comes on as finance director.
Mitchell will leave her seven-year post as director of marketing at McDonald's Restaurants Ltd to take up the role at DB. Mitchell, who was awarded the Marketer of the Year Award at the 2019 TVNZ Marketing Awards, replaces Sean O'Donnell, who is leaving DB and heading to Singapore to work with Heineken's Tiger brand.
Ranganathan is currently head of finance at Goodman Fielder and before that held numerous senior finance roles in the FMCG industry in New Zealand, Australia, India, and the UK.
He replaces Witold Kramarz, who has been living in New Zealand for the past four years while serving as finance director at DB and is now heading overseas to take up another role within the Heineken network.