A slew of Government departments are set to buy up advertisement slots from media outlets to provide relief from the Covid-linked plummet in advertising revenues.

As part of the Government's $50 million package to help the media industry, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) wil fork out up to $9 million worth in payments to local media businesses hit by the pandemic.

Providing cashflow relief to the media, one of the many Covid-hit sectors, was a "key focus" for the MCH, a statement said.

"Of particular importance is providing this relief in a manner that will reach a wide range of local media organisations and channels, so that we support media plurality.

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"Under this initiative Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH), on behalf of 32 Government departments, 4 departmental agencies and 3 non-public service departments, will purchase government advertising in advance from local media businesses."

Among those departments are the Ministry of Health, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, New Zealand Police, Ministry of Defence and the Department of Conservation.

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To qualify for the relief, media organisations must have experienced an advertising dip of at least 30 per cent due to the Covid-19 crisis, taken "reasonable efforts" to mitigate the ongoing fallout of the virus and must have received prior Government advertising revenue.

"The Ministry will purchase advertising in advance from local media businesses that Government has advertised with over the last two financial years, based on the average spend in that period," the statement said.

"The participating Government organisations will then place advertising with organisations against this credit in the 2020-2021 government financial year."

Broadcasting minister Kris Faafoi earlier said the package was about freeing up cash in the short term to help the industry get through the immediate crisis.

The package includes $21.1m to completely cut the cost of transmission fees for the next six months as well as $16.5m to cut the contribution to NZ on Air screen content by 80 per cent and a $1.3m allocation for Government departments to purchase news subscriptions.

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Without Government intervention, there was a risk of losing the plurality of voices in the media that were so important at times like these, he said.

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said the package aimed to help the media industry get through the immediate crisis. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said the package aimed to help the media industry get through the immediate crisis. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He said any perception that the Government was happy to support TVNZ and RNZ but not other media companies was "wrong".

There was an urgency to help all media platforms, he said, and part of a $11.1m targeted assistance package could go towards print and digital media.

The Government's second tranche will also consider the model in Australia, where Google and Facebook will have to pay for the news content on their platforms, he said.

"We're trying to do as much as we can in the short term to give us some time to have the wider discussions."

Media organisations were able to apply for the financial relief from Monday.

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Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website