The Battle Over Digital News Bargaining Legislation: Implications for Media Sustainability and Government Intervention

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital media, the question of fair compensation for news content has become a contentious issue. Recent events, such as the collapse of Newshub and the subsequent loss of hundreds of jobs, have brought the debate to the forefront of government consideration. This article delves into the complexities surrounding the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, its potential impact on media sustainability, and the government’s role in mitigating the crisis.

The Battle Over Digital News Bargaining Legislation: Implications for Media Sustainability and Government Intervention

The Urgency of Legislative Action

Months before the collapse of Newshub, officials at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage issued a warning to Media and Communications Minister Melissa Lee. They cautioned that delaying legislation to force digital platforms like Google and Facebook to pay local media for their content could result in job losses and industry instability. The bill, introduced by Labour in August 2023, aims to level the playing field between local news publishers and tech giants, potentially injecting tens of millions of dollars annually into the media industry.

The Mechanisms of the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

At its core, the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill seeks to establish a framework for negotiations between local news publishers and digital platforms. By creating a bargaining and arbitration process, along with penalties for non-compliance, the bill aims to ensure that news publishers receive fair compensation for their content. Additionally, exemptions are provided for digital platforms that demonstrate a “fair contribution” to the production of local news content.

Potential Revenue and International Precedents

According to estimates, the bill could bring in between $30 million and $50 million annually for local media companies, with the potential for this revenue to triple over time. International examples from countries like Australia, Canada, and France demonstrate the effectiveness of similar legislation in providing substantial financial support to local news media. For instance, the Australian bargaining code alone provides about $215 million each year to local news media.

Tech Giants’ Resistance and Threats

Despite the potential benefits for local media, multinational tech giants like Google and Meta (Facebook’s parent company) vehemently oppose the bill. These companies argue that the legislation would disrupt their business models and have threatened to block news content in response. Google’s own deals with New Zealand media outlets under its Google News Showcase program highlight the company’s alternative approach to negotiating compensation for news content.

Government Response and Considerations

In response to mounting pressure and the recent collapse of Newshub, questions have been raised about the government’s stance on the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill. Minister Melissa Lee has been cautious, describing the legislation as akin to “another tax.” However, in light of recent developments, including the impending report from the select committee, the government’s position may be subject to change. The decision to fast-track or amend the bill will be influenced by its potential impact on the wider media landscape and the need to support a free and independent press.

Conclusion

The collapse of Newshub serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing the media industry in the digital age. Legislative measures such as the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill offer a glimmer of hope for struggling news publishers, providing a pathway to fair compensation and sustainability. However, the resistance from tech giants and the complexities of government intervention underscore the need for careful consideration and collaboration moving forward. Ultimately, the fate of the media industry rests not only in legislative action but also in the collective efforts of stakeholders to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing landscape.

Understanding the Urgency in Parliament

The 54th Parliament of New Zealand, which convened for the first time in December last year, has been marked by an unusual sense of urgency. Out of the 16 days that the Parliament has sat, ‘urgency’ has replaced the usual rules on 11 of those days.

Understanding the Urgency in Parliament

The Unusual Rush

The opposition MPs have expressed increasing concern about the frequent use of urgency. James Shaw, last week, argued that the overwhelming use of urgency warranted a debate in the House. According to his count, the Government has pushed 16 bills through urgency, a ratio that he believes undermines parliamentary democracy.

The Historical Perspective

A study from Victoria University of Wellington, covering 24 years of New Zealand’s parliament (from 1987 until 2010), revealed that the average number of bills passed through all stages under urgency was 10 per Parliament. The current Parliament has nearly reached that average in just seven weeks.

The Role of Urgency

Urgency in Parliament is not inherently bad. It serves as an option in Parliament’s rules and can be used for valid reasons, such as rectifying errors in legislation. It is also often used after a budget announcement to enact an announced excise change without people taking unfair advantage.

The Mechanism of Urgency

Urgency allows governments to pass laws faster by setting aside specific parliamentary procedures. It allows Parliament to sit for longer or extra days, introduce new legislation to the House and then debate it immediately, complete one stage of debate on a bill and immediately begin the next one, and entirely skip the select committee stage.

The Downside of Urgency

The most contentious aspect of urgency is skipping select committee hearings. This stage allows public feedback and is when mistakes and unintended consequences are found and fixed. Most bills return from their select committee with amendments. Most bills are improved with time, thought, and public input.

The Reasons for Urgency

Parliament’s rules for urgency expect governments to provide the House with reasons for why urgency is needed. The reasons given so far include ‘we won the election and have a mandate to do this’, ‘it is part of our coalition agreement’, ‘we want it done fast (i.e., it is in our 100-day plan)’, and ‘we said we would repeal this when it was enacted’.

The Practical and Tactical Considerations

Urgency is especially useful for new governments which often have a lot of policy they want enacted, but a shortage of bills that are drafted and ready to debate. Tactically, urgency can allow a contentious idea to become a fact before its opponents have had enough time to come up with a slogan.

In conclusion, while urgency is not necessarily bad and can be genuinely necessary, it can also be used tactically to push through contentious ideas before opponents have had enough time to mount a campaign. This dual nature of urgency makes it a critical aspect of parliamentary democracy.

The Life and Legacy of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa: An Intimate Portrait

The Life & Legacy of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

The Life and Legacy of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa: An Intimate Portrait

In the realm of classical music, few voices have captivated audiences worldwide like that of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Born and raised in New Zealand, Dame Kiri’s journey from earning the nation’s first gold record to performing at the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana has been nothing short of remarkable. Now, as she approaches her milestone 80th birthday, she reflects on her illustrious career, her love for Scotland, the challenges of balancing family and fame, and the joys of retired life back in her homeland.

Retired Life in the Bay of Islands: A New Chapter Begins

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa may have bid farewell to the stage in 2017, but retirement has hardly slowed her down. From her tranquil abode in the Bay of Islands, she continues to immerse herself in the world of music, nurturing the next generation of opera talents through the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. Despite stepping away from the limelight, her days remain filled with purpose and passion, bridging continents through her tireless dedication to the foundation’s mission.

A Return to New Zealand: Navigating Life Amidst a Pandemic

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Dame Kiri to make a pivotal decision – to return to her roots in New Zealand. Concerned about missing out on precious moments with her grandson, Luther, she seized the opportunity to relocate and embrace a slower pace of life. As she reflects on this choice, it becomes clear that family and connection are paramount, guiding her back to the picturesque landscapes of her homeland.

Embracing Scotland: A Love Affair with the Highlands

Throughout her career, Dame Kiri’s bond with Scotland has remained steadfast. From enchanting performances to leisurely cruises along the Hebridean Princess, Scotland holds a special place in her heart. As she eagerly anticipates her return to its rugged shores, one cannot help but marvel at the enduring connection between artist and landscape, each enriching the other in a harmonious dance of inspiration.

Yearning for the UK: Nostalgia and Fond Memories

Despite her idyllic surroundings in New Zealand, Dame Kiri admits to missing certain comforts of her former life in the UK. A simple trip to Marks and Spencer’s becomes a nostalgic longing for the familiar, a reminder of the bustling streets and vibrant culture she once called home. Yet, amidst these yearnings, she finds solace in the memories of her time abroad, cherishing the experiences that shaped her remarkable journey.

The Discipline of Excellence: Insights from a Lifetime of Performance

For Dame Kiri, maintaining excellence on stage required unwavering discipline and dedication. From carefully managing her schedule to prioritizing vocal health above all else, she exemplifies the rigor and commitment demanded by her craft. In a world where distractions abound, her steadfast resolve serves as a guiding light for aspiring artists, reminding them of the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness.

The Driving Forces of Success: Lessons from Resilience

Behind Dame Kiri’s illustrious career lies a tapestry of mentors and influencers, each contributing to her journey in profound ways. From her Hungarian singing teacher to the legendary Sir Georg Solti, their shared resilience and determination instilled within her a fierce sense of purpose. Their unwavering belief in her abilities fueled her ascent to operatic stardom, shaping the trajectory of her life in ways she could never have imagined.

Navigating Impatience: Embracing Imperfection

Despite her towering achievements, Dame Kiri candidly admits to grappling with impatience, a trait that has both propelled her forward and tested her patience. Whether navigating the aisles of a store or demanding excellence from herself and others, she embraces her flaws with humility and humor. In a world that often prizes perfection, her willingness to embrace imperfection serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty found in authenticity.

Balancing Career and Parenthood: Trials and Triumphs

For Dame Kiri, the pursuit of an international career came with its fair share of challenges, including the strain it placed on her family life. While her marriage may have faltered under the weight of her ambitions, she remains hopeful that her children understand the sacrifices made in pursuit of her art. As she reflects on this delicate balance, she offers a glimpse into the complexities of navigating personal and professional aspirations.

The Power of Music: Moments of Triumph and Transcendence

Throughout her career, Dame Kiri has graced the world’s most prestigious stages, from the Metropolitan Opera to the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Each performance, whether singing Verdi’s ‘Ave Maria’ or collaborating with the legendary Leonard Bernstein, has left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide. As she recounts these moments of triumph and transcendence, it becomes clear that music has been her constant companion, guiding her through life’s most profound moments.

Celebrating Eight Decades: Looking Back, Looking Forward

As Dame Kiri approaches her 80th birthday, she does so with a sense of gratitude and anticipation for the years ahead. Amidst the celebrations and accolades, she remains grounded in the present, savoring each moment with grace and humility. Whether embarking on a fishing trip or enjoying a cocktail party hosted by the Governor General, she embraces the milestones of aging with resilience and optimism, ready to embrace whatever the future may hold.

A Living Legacy: Dame Kiri’s Enduring Impact

As Dame Kiri reflects on her life and legacy, one thing becomes abundantly clear – her influence extends far beyond the stage. From her philanthropic endeavors to her unwavering commitment to nurturing young talent, she embodies the true essence of an artist and humanitarian. As she continues to inspire future generations, her legacy will endure as a testament to the transformative power of music and the indomitable spirit of one of New Zealand’s finest treasures.

In conclusion, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of music and the enduring resilience of the human spirit. From her humble beginnings in New Zealand to her meteoric rise to operatic stardom, she has left an indelible mark on the world stage. As she embarks on the next chapter of her life, her legacy serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon Defends Accommodation Supplement Claim


Christopher Luxon, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, faces scrutiny after it was revealed he claimed a $52,000 accommodation supplement to reside in his mortgage-free Wellington home. Despite campaigning on cutting public spending, Luxon defends his entitlement, stating it complies with existing rules.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon Defends Accommodation Supplement Claim

Explanation of the Claim:
Luxon justifies his accommodation supplement, highlighting that it’s within the rules and available to all MPs living away from Wellington. While the standard subsidy is $31,000, Luxon’s entitlement is higher due to his circumstances.

Defending the Entitlement:
Addressing reporters in Queenstown, Luxon defends his decision, emphasizing that it’s part of the entitlement for out-of-Wellington MPs. He clarifies that the aim is to transition to Premier House but cites maintenance issues as a reason for his current living arrangements.

Response to Criticism:
Luxon addresses accusations of hypocrisy, stressing his desire to reside in Premier House and highlighting that his situation aligns with entitlements for non-Wellington-based MPs and Ministers.

Comparison to Previous Prime Minister:
Luxon distinguishes his case from former Prime Minister Bill English, who repaid the supplement, citing different circumstances regarding primary residence.

Clarification on Personal Wealth:
Despite advocating for individuals like himself to pay for services if financially capable, Luxon reiterates his intent to move to Premier House as soon as feasible.

Conclusion:
Christopher Luxon’s defense of his accommodation supplement claim underscores the complexities of entitlements for MPs living away from Wellington. While facing criticism, Luxon maintains that his actions adhere to existing regulations and express his commitment to transitioning to Premier House in due course.

Embracing Te Reo: A Journey of Understanding and Respect


The demand for Kura Reo and te reo Māori is rising across Aotearoa, with non-Māori individuals joining the revitalization efforts. However, newcomers are urged to recognize the privilege of participating alongside Māori reclaiming their identity.

 Embracing Te Reo: A Journey of Understanding and Respect

Jennifer Ward-Lealand’s Immersion Experience:
Renowned actor/director Jennifer Ward-Lealand shares her transformative journey at Kura Reo, emphasizing the profound immersion into language and tikanga. Despite initial challenges, she found immense value in the immersive environment, guided by esteemed te reo teachers.

Embracing Responsibility:
Bestowed with a Māori name, Te Atamira, symbolizing her theatrical platform, Ward-Lealand embraces the responsibility to promote te reo. She underscores the seriousness of utilizing her stage to advance the language.

Jo Pannell’s Cultural Connection:
Jo Pannell, inspired by her move from South Africa to New Zealand, embarked on a te reo journey to immerse her family in the country’s culture. She highlights the language as a gateway to understanding and participating in Māori culture and tikanga.

Encouraging Persistence:
Pannell acknowledges the intimidation faced by learners at Kura Reo but encourages perseverance. Immersion in the rhythms of te ao Māori is emphasized as invaluable for learners, fostering true cultural understanding.

Awareness and Respect:
While noting the increasing interest of non-Māori in te reo, Ward-Lealand stresses the importance of awareness regarding the historical context and privilege. She underscores the need to respect spaces for tangata whenua and acknowledges the unique challenges faced by Māori in reclaiming their language.

Conclusion:
The journey of learning te reo as a non-Māori individual is characterized by respect, understanding, and acknowledgment of privilege. As demand grows, embracing responsibility and fostering cultural awareness are paramount in supporting the revitalization of te reo Māori.

Newshub Staff Rally to Save News Operation Amid Closure Threat

Newshub’s investigative correspondent, Michael Morrah, reveals plans by staff to counter the proposed closure of the news outlet’s operations, announced abruptly in an emergency meeting. Hundreds of employees face job losses by June.

Newshub Staff Rally to Save News Operation Amid Closure Threat

Staff Counterproposal:
Morrah and his colleagues are gearing up to present a counterproposal to salvage some form of the news operation. They see this as an opportunity to provide constructive feedback to management and are determined not to surrender without a fight.

Speculation on Counterproposal:
While specifics of the counterproposal are yet to be discussed, the focus remains on preserving some aspect of the news organization. Morrah emphasizes the importance of solidarity among staff members in formulating a viable alternative.

Expert Insights:
Mark Jennings, former head of TV3 news, suggests significant cost-cutting measures, such as reducing the 6 pm bulletin duration and eliminating foreign correspondents, as potential strategies for Newshub’s survival. The responsibility, he argues, lies with the current owners, Warner Bros Discovery.

Ownership and Proposed Changes:
Warner Bros Discovery, Newshub’s parent company, is pushing for a transition to a digitally-led business model, signaling the closure of its multiplatform news operations. This move would halt all news production, including the Newshub website, by June 30th.

Staff Sentiments and Concerns:
Morrah reflects on the emotional toll the announcement has taken on the newsroom, expressing concern for the financial well-being of younger colleagues and the uncertain future faced by all employees. Despite the challenges, the dedication to journalism remains unwavering.

Potential Job Losses and Consultation Process:
With up to 300 jobs on the line, the consultation period extends until mid-March, with a final decision expected in early April. The company’s substantial loss in the 2022 financial year adds weight to the urgency of the situation.

Conclusion:
As Newshub staff navigate through this challenging period, they are united in their determination to explore every avenue to save the news operation. The outcome remains uncertain, but their commitment to preserving quality journalism in New Zealand remains resolute.

Union Members at NIWA Allege Discrimination Over Health Insurance

Over 180 union members employed at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have filed personal grievance claims against their employer, alleging they are being unfairly denied access to health insurance offered to non-union staff.

Union Members at NIWA Allege Discrimination Over Health Insurance

NIWA contends that the offer of free medical insurance for union members was part of ongoing negotiations for a collective agreement. A spokesperson for NIWA stated that staff on individual contracts accepted a six percent pay rise and free health insurance last year, but the same offer to members of the Public Service Association (PSA) remained unsettled due to pending collective bargaining.

The PSA’s national secretary, Duane Leo, denounced NIWA’s actions as discriminatory, accusing the institute of using well-being benefits as leverage in negotiations. Leo expressed disappointment over NIWA’s tactics, which have caused anxiety and even led some members to delay medical treatment in hopes of a resolution.

In response, the PSA has not only supported members in lodging personal grievances but has also initiated legal action against NIWA. The case is set for mediation this week.

Despite the ongoing dispute, NIWA reiterated its commitment to addressing gender pay equity issues through a joint working party with the PSA. The institute defended its offer, citing the competitive salary and health benefits provided to its employees within the New Zealand science sector.

Conclusion

The conflict between NIWA and its union members highlights the challenges of collective bargaining and the importance of fair treatment in workplace benefits.

Education Ministry Scraps School Co-location Project After $24 Million Investment

Introduction:
The Ministry of Education has decided to abandon a co-location project, Te Tātoru o Wairau, which aimed to bring Marlborough Boys’ and Girls’ colleges onto one site and relocate Bohally Intermediate School. This decision comes after the project’s estimated costs skyrocketed from $170 million to a staggering $405 million. Education Minister Erica Stanford expressed concern over the significant budget overrun, reflecting systemic issues within the school property system.

Education Ministry Scraps School Co-location Project After $24 Million Investment

Investment Details:
Approximately $24.5 million has already been invested in the project, including the purchase of residential properties totaling $4 million and the construction of a new hockey turf at Marlborough Girls’ College costing $4.5 million.

Ministerial Inquiry:
In response to the project’s failure, Minister Stanford announced a ministerial inquiry to address unrealistic and unaffordable scopes of planned property works, aiming to rectify issues within the school property system.

School Principals’ Response:
Marlborough Boys’ College principal, John Kendal, expressed disappointment over the decision but acknowledged the project’s long-standing challenges. Urgent upgrades for deteriorating infrastructure are now a priority for the schools.

Immediate Needs:
Both colleges are focusing on addressing critical infrastructure issues, such as outdated buildings and facilities, to ensure students’ safety and well-being.

Community Disappointment:
While understanding the rationale behind the decision, Marlborough Girls’ College principal Mary-Jeanne Lynch and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua pouwhakahaere Shane Graham expressed disappointment over the lost opportunity and the apparent disregard for tikanga (customs and protocols) in decision-making.

Continued Collaboration:
Despite the setback, iwi representatives express commitment to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and other partners to enhance educational opportunities in the region, urging political representatives to advocate for meaningful change.


The abandonment of the co-location project underscores the challenges facing the education sector and highlights the need for more effective planning and budget management in school infrastructure projects. Despite this setback, efforts to improve educational facilities and opportunities in Marlborough remain ongoing.

Auckland Property Developer Offers Cashback Deals up to $20,000 to Sell Unsold Apartments


An Auckland-based property developer is taking a novel approach to offloading unsold units in a sprawling development project. With approximately 40 apartments remaining unsold in Ockham’s Maanaki apartment block located in Onehunga, the developer is enticing potential buyers with cashback incentives of up to $20,000.

Auckland Property Developer Offers Cashback Deals up to $20,000 to Sell Unsold Apartments

Details of the Offer:

  • One-bedroom apartments, starting at around $670,000, are eligible for a $10,000 cashback.
  • For the more spacious three-bedroom units, priced at about $895,000, buyers can receive a $20,000 cashback.

Market Challenges:
Mark Todd, co-founder of Ockham Residential, highlighted the ongoing challenges in the property market, citing a downturn in sales across the sector since late 2021. He emphasized the financial strain on a significant portion of New Zealanders due to current interest rates, making housing unaffordable for many.

Reasoning Behind Cashback Deals:
Todd explained that while developer costs have stabilized, they remain high, making it difficult to lower prices significantly. By offering cashback deals, Ockham aims to demonstrate generosity while maintaining the value of the apartments for existing owners.

Future Plans:
Aside from the immediate goal of selling remaining units, Todd expressed the desire to free up capital for future developments. He noted the potential to lease out unsold apartments if necessary but stressed the importance of building more to drive productivity.

Response to Existing Owners:
When questioned about offering retrospective cashback deals to existing owners, Todd stated that it wouldn’t be feasible. He emphasized the risks undertaken by the developers and the changing market dynamics, indicating that everyone must accept their position based on current circumstances.

Conclusion:
While the sales of the initial 170 apartments proceeded smoothly, Todd acknowledged the fluctuating market prices, emphasizing the value proposition for both current and prospective buyers amidst market challenges.

Understanding Public Sentiment on Proposed Gang Patch Ban in New Zealand


Exploring the public’s stance on the coalition government’s proposal to ban gang patches in public spaces, along with associated enforcement measures.

Gang Patch Ban in New Zealand

Concerns Over Enforcement:
Many express doubts about the practicality of enforcing the ban, suggesting it might divert resources from more pressing issues.

Alternative Perspectives:
Some advocate for addressing root causes such as mental health support and drug laws, highlighting the role of gangs in filling societal gaps.

Local Perspectives:
Opinions in Christchurch vary, with some feeling unaffected by gangs while others perceive them as a significant presence, especially compared to other regions.

Analysis of Pros and Cons:
Residents weigh the pros of improved public safety against concerns about individual freedom and the effectiveness of punitive measures.

Calls for Government Focus:
Amid economic challenges, voices emphasize the need for government prioritization, with suggestions ranging from financial support to community investment.

Endorsement of the Proposal:
Despite mixed opinions, some residents support the ban as a positive step towards enhancing public safety and reducing intimidation.


Public sentiment on the proposed gang patch ban in New Zealand reflects a complex blend of concerns, alternative viewpoints, and calls for strategic government action.