Winston Peters throws support behind NZME buying Stuff and RNZ-TVNZ model

NZ First leader Winston Peters held a press conference this morning to put his support behind "the fourth estate and its health". 

Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Peters said his party would put its support behind the Government proposals to create a new model between TVNZ and RNZ and NZME buying Stuff, but within a Kiwishare model. 

Mr Peters said his stance "sets the scene" for a focused decision making process of the future of news. 

"We need to help and we need to help now."

It was reported in November by RNZ the Government was considering the future of RNZ and TVNZ which included merging, disestablishing both to create a new model, or leaving both companies to continue operating. 

He said the sticking point of an TVNZ-RNZ model was the cost, "to stay in the market as a competitor" with large entities such as Google and Facebook. 

"Many questions of design and cost are still to be addressed."

He also said NZ First would support the proposal of NZME buying Stuff. 

A merger between the two media companies was first binned in 2018, after the Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the Commerce Commission to stop the merger. 

Despite this, another attempt was reported but within a "Kiwishare" model that could stop newsrooms from merging and would see NZME buy Stuff. 

Mr Peters said it was worth "considering seriously" and he would support Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi's proposal, and he wanted regional print titles to remain open. 

Stuff, its papers including the Dominion Post are owned by Nine Entertainment, NZME owns NZ Herald and radio stations including Newstalk ZB. 

Mr Peters said the reporting of Whakaari/White Island showed the importance of the news, then said the "tide is low" in media.