Communications minister Kris Faafoi announces the New Zealand coronavirus aid package in Wellington. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
The New Zealand government will spend NZ$50m (£25m) on ailing media businesses during the coronavirus-induced downturn.
News organisations have pleaded with Jacinda Ardern’s government for support over the past month, given the advertising streams that funded commercial operations have all but dried up.
On Thursday, two deaths and three new cases were recorded. More than 1,450 people have been infected with coronavirus in New Zealand. A total of 16 have died and eight are in hospital.
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Every media business in New Zealand has taken up the government’s wage subsidy program, which covers a portion of salaries for a 12-week period for workers in struggling industries.
However, the media industry became the third sector after primary health and aviation to receive specific support after a government announcement on Thursday.
“This support reflects the essential role media play at this time in delivering access to reliable and up to date news coverage and keeping New Zealanders connected while in lockdown,” communications minister Kris Faafoi said.
“There is evidence New Zealanders are turning to trusted news sources in record numbers at this time so it is critical the media is supported to keep doing the great job they have been doing.”
Faafoi said he chose proposals that “get support out the door as fast as possible”.