New Zealand: Government announces aid package for journalists

Media in New Zealand is to receive up to NZ$50m in support to help cover journalists’ salaries, avoid job losses and sustain ailing media during the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a post-Cabinet media conference at Parliament House. Credits: Mark Mitchell / POOL / AFP

Media advertising has been severely hit by the pandemic and media companies have already accessed the government’s wage subsidy scheme, which covers a portion of salaries for a 12-week period for workers in struggling industries.

But now an additional dedicated package for media has been announced, recognizing the vital need for quality media during the crisis, becoming just the third sector in the country to receive specialist support.

The measures include:

  • $20.5m to completely cut TV and Radio transmission fees for six months
  • $16.5m to reduce media organisation's contribution fees to NZ On Air for the 2020/21 financial year
  • $11.1 million for specific targeted assistance to companies
  • $1.3 million to purchase central government news media subscriptions
  • $600,000 to completely cut RNZ AM transmission fees for six months
  • A commitment to further develop the Local Democracy Reporting pilot

Ministers also pledged to look at how to move some government advertising away from Facebook and Google towards domestic media.

Government advertising spend is about NZ$110m for the 2018/19 year, and about 30 per cent of that was to online platforms, with the rest going to television, radio and print.

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