Monday 13 December 2021

Offers that should be refused

This week's column over at Stuff looks at the media companies' request of ComCom for Aussie-style regulation

A snippet:

The real problem is not tech platforms’ bargaining power.

The problem rather is media companies wishing for government to use force of law to restore market conditions that slipped away with technological change.


Taxing a sector you do not like to fund a sector you do like is not a good basis for tax policy. One might as well impose a tax on hipsters’ beard oil to fund tīeke (saddleback) recovery programmes.

If you think that tech companies do not pay enough in local tax, you should want Inland Revenue to make sure the tax code is rigorous.

If you think good journalism deserves better funding, you should contribute to it yourself and encourage others to do likewise.

There may be a public interest case in tax-funding public interest journalism. But no principle of public finance in existence says that funding should be compelled from Google or Facebook through compulsory arbitration rather than being provided from the public purse more generally.

Breaking basic principles of public finance, and the basic principles on which the web was founded, to compel tech companies to fund journalism – that belongs only in bad modern-day gangster movies. Not in New Zealand public policy.

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