New Zealand’s government outlined plans to follow Australia’s lead by introducing a law requiring major online platforms including Google and Facebook to compensate domestic media companies for the local news content they host and share.

The country’s Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson stated the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada.

He explained the law will act as “an incentive for the digital platforms to reach high-quality voluntary deals” with local news outlets.

With the country’s competition regulator finding the major internet companies have substantial bargaining power, Jackson said it needs legislation to support any voluntary negotiations which help level the playing field.

He stated it is critical the platforms benefitting from news content actually pay for it, adding it’s not fair the big digital platforms can host and share local news for free.

“It costs to produce the news, and it’s only fair they pay”.

If voluntary agreements cannot be reached, the legislation details the process for negotiations and mandatory bargaining.

New Zealand’s news industry, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online, Jackson noted. “The reduction in income of our media companies is having an impact on news creation with a significant decline in the number of journalists in New Zealand.”

In 2021, Australia’s government passed a controversial law requiring Google and Facebook to negotiate licensing agreements with local media companies for their news content to ensure media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate.

Google and Facebook subsequently reached commercial agreements with publishers.