No day of rest yesterday with entrenchment on Three Waters gone, and announcements on legislation for big tech, transport funding, and signals on any future cost of living payments, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday morning, sign up here.
Government will force digital giants to pay media
Sometimes Mondays in December can start getting a bit light for news but this year, we’re pushing through and working right up to Christmas. There’s a new 1News Kantar poll out tonight and yesterday, a flurry of announcements came through from the government. If you were out enjoying the long-awaited fine weather, let’s start with the morning announcement that the government will create backstop legislation to force online platforms to pay media in New Zealand for the news content they surface. Toby Manhire has analysis on The Spinoff this morning, looking at how the legislation would work, how similar moves are going in Australia and Canada and Meta’s reaction.
Willie Jackson suggests Jack Tame could end up as front man for “Treasure Island” without TVNZ/RNZ merger
It was announced on TVNZ’s Q&A during an interview between Jack Tame and minister for broadcasting, Willie Jackson that might lightly be described as “verbal sparring”. Tame and Jackson also discussed the TVNZ/RNZ merger. Jackson cited declining revenue and audiences, suggesting that without the merger, shows like Q&A could be threatened and Tame could end up being the front man for Treasure Island. “Dreams are free,” said Tame. The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan writes (paywalled) that Jackson’s comments about the independence of a merged TVNZ/RNZ raised eyebrows in the industry. Stuff’s Glenn McConnell has details of a Taxpayers’ Union and Curia poll this morning, showing only 22% of people support the merger and 24% were unsure about it. Support was higher in the 18 to 39-year-old age bracket.
Announcement on fuel excise tax discount extension coming before Christmas
Finance minister Grant Robertson was also on Q&A and confirmed that an announcement was coming before Christmas on whether the fuel excise tax discount will be extended. The government extended the discount until the end of January 2023 in July. Robertson was also asked about cost of living payments but confirmed that they’re not on the agenda right now, saying the government was focusing on relief that “doesn’t exacerbate inflation”, like increases to the family tax credit and childcare subsidies. Transport minister Michael Woods also announced yesterday that $350m will be spent across the country on “small, simple improvements” to public transport, cycling and road safety infrastructure.
Entrenchment provision on Three Waters gone
Just 10 days after its introduction, leader of the house Chris Hipkins announced yesterday that the clause in the Water Services Entities bill that entrenched public ownership of the new water entities, requiring 60% of MPs for its repeal, will be scrapped. Grant Robertson rejected the suggestion on Q&A that the mistake was a result of pursuing legislation under urgency. National’s shadow leader of the house Chris Bishop said “It’s good to see Labour have listened to us and backed down, but the prime minister still has questions to answer around how this happened. This is about trust.” Prime minister Jaicnda Ardern said last week she wasn’t familiar with the provision, introduced by the Green’s Eugenie Sage, as she wasn’t in the House when it was voted on. Local government minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed to Stuff that this was discussed in a caucus meeting which Ardern attended.