The Government is considering forcing big tech companies like Google and Facebook pay for its use of New Zealand journalism.
The Australian Government today announced its competition watchdog, the ACCC, will draw up a mandatory code of conduct to make tech giants pay for the news content they siphon off local media outlets.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move would help "level the playing field" after the ACCC's inquiry into the dominance of digital platforms last year found they'd hoovered up all the advertising spending.
"It's only fair that those that generate content get paid for it," Frydenberg said.
The ACCC will consult on the code of conduct in July.
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The New Zealand Government said a mandatory code like Australia's was one of many options it was considering to support local media in the long term.
The announcement on an immediate support package is expected soon to help media companies left reeling from advertising revenue all but drying up in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
A spokesperson for Commerce and Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said a move like Australia's was one of the options being discussed.
But if it was implemented, it wouldn't be part of the immediate support package.
"A range of options are being considered as the Government looks at what can be done to help the media sector, both in the short term - to deal with issues exacerbated by Covid-19, and longer term - to try to address fundamental problems the sector was facing well before Covid-19.
"Commercial relationships between international platforms such as Google and Facebook and the news media in New Zealand are one of a range of factors being discussed."
Last week, local media companies appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee and laid bare how dire their situations had become since Covid-19.
Academic and former New Zealand Herald editor Gavin Ellis said the media were facing "an existential crisis" as advertising revenues plummeted.
"These aren't normal times and news media are not normal enterprises. They're not too big to fail, but they're certainly too important to fail."
MediaWorks earlier this month asked its staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut, while Radio Sport and all Bauer's New Zealand magazine titles - including The Listener and North and South - have closed.
Bauer's closure also meant the loss of more than 200 jobs - though Ardern has noted that Bauer had refused to take the Government's wage subsidy.
Last Tuesday NZME, which owns the Herald and Newstalk ZB, announced it was making 200 positions redundant and asking higher-paid staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut for 12 weeks.