The Commerce Commission has delivered a unanimous and very strong final rejection of NZME's application to merge with Fairfax New Zealand, which would have created a company owning more than 90 percent of the nation's newspapers. It decided a merger would increase advertising prices for currently competing Sunday newspapers and community newspapers, increase subscription prices for Sunday newspapers, and reduce the quality or increase eventual subscription prices for online news.
Bernard Hickey argues the Commerce Commission’s decision is irrelevant while New Zealand’s two largest news producers are locked in a group-think about how to make money out of news. Until Fairfax NZ and NZME abandon their collective view that online ads will pay for news, the trajectory towards fewer journalists and a weaker fourth estate will continue, regardless of whether the merger is approved or rejected.
Attempts by the Commerce Commission to investigate reports of anti-competitive behaviour by Fletcher Building in Christchurch failed to come up with evidence, Commission chairman Dr Mark Berry told the Commerce select committee on Thursday.
Retiring Transpower CEO Patrick Strange was reappointed to the board of Mighty River Power, the board of Standards NZ was reappointed to keep it going while it's being disestablished, MBIE reported skilled job ads online rose 4.1% in November, Steven Joyce added 4,000 places for new apprentices to the Apprenticeship Reboot scheme and Craig Foss appointed Stephen McElrea to the board of NZ On Air. Foss also reappointed Mark Berry as Commerce Commission Chair.