The Commerce Commission has granted provisional authorisation for the News Publishers' Association to engage in collective bargaining with Facebook owner Meta and Google.
The NPA, which includes NZ Herald publisher New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), will be able to negotiate terms and conditions on which participating news media companies' content is displayed on digital platforms operated by Meta and Google.
But the competition and consumer watchdog said its decision to grant provisional authorisation should not be taken as an indication that it is likely to grant or decline the application for authorisation.
The Commission said while it continues to consider the authorisation application, it believed it appropriate to grant provisional authorisation, taking into account factors set out in its guidelines.
In March, NZME said it had signed a letter of intent with Google setting out key terms in a ground-breaking deal for the proposed payment from the tech giant to supply it with news content.
NZME - which also owns Newstalk ZB and five regional daily newspapers - is also in commercial discussions with Meta.
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said of last month's announcement that it further demonstrated the company's commitment to growing and evolving its digital platforms.
"We are pleased to have reached a point with Google where we can partner with them to further enable digital growth across NZME's business, boosting digital revenue for NZME and increasing our audience reach," Boggs said.
"We look forward to reaching final agreement with Google that will see NZME's news content supplied and shared through Google programmes, continuing to support the future of high-quality, trusted journalism in Aotearoa," he added.
The provisional authorisation, granted today, has the same effect as an authorisation but is of limited duration while the commission considers the application.
The commission may authorise all or some of the agreement or arrangement for which authorisation has been sought.
The commission said likely benefits to collective bargaining included the potential for participating news media companies to pool their resources and reduce costs of negotiation, and it may also put smaller media companies in a better position to negotiate with Google and Meta.