Discussions between New Zealand media and the US tech giants are well overdue.
Facebook and Google have hoovered up digital advertising revenue to the extent that there are now half as many journalists working in New Zealand media as there were 15 years ago.
It's never easy for media entities to set aside differences and fight for a common cause, but it is imperative for local media to get fair payment for the content they produce.
This is why the NZ Herald, Stuff, The Spinoff and the Otago Daily Times are seeking Commerce Commission approval to collectively bargain with Facebook and Google.
Major Australian media companies have already signed multi-million dollar deals with Facebook and Google. The difference is Australian media companies had legislative backing, forcing Google and Facebook to negotiate. If an agreement wasn't reached, an independent arbitrator set a price.
Without a legal framework, New Zealand publishers have essentially been negotiating with one hand tied behind their backs.
Despite Media Minister Kris Faafoi's calls for negotiations, Google and Facebook can walk away if they don't like a deal being proposed.
This power imbalance is particularly harsh on smaller operators, which offer none of the scale and clout of Google and Facebook.
The collaborative approach between the media aims to ensure voices of companies both large and small are heard. It ensures larger companies don't land chunky contracts, while smaller entities fend for themselves.
It also means any threat by Facebook or Google to block news content is shared rather than yoked to a single negotiating media company.
Google and Facebook have long claimed news isn't a massive contributor to their content. In Australia, Facebook banned news entities for a few days to try to prove a point.
If the publishers had to negotiate independently, then Facebook or Google could simply say they don't have to put their content on their channels, safe in the knowledge enough other media companies would provide a steady stream of content.
If Facebook or Google threaten to pull content now, they would lose the vast majority of digital news content currently being produced in New Zealand.
It might well be true that news content accounts for only a small percentage of the total audience on Facebook or Google on a daily basis, but not all clicks are equal on the internet.
These tech companies are already inundated with misinformation, which among other things continues to undermine vaccination efforts in this country. Dropping virtually all the fact-checked news, subject to media law in New Zealand, would achieve little more than giving the keys of the digital media palace to the trolls and agents of misinformation.
Negotiation under these circumstances is in the best interests of New Zealand media, the global tech giants and the public.
Journalism has long been one of the foundational elements of democratic nations around the world, and it continues to be supported by the public.
It's about time tech companies, with their historically beneficial tax arrangements, contribute to the cost of ensuring the fourth estate remains for the good of all.