Peters makes newspaper ownership political

Overseas ownership of New Zealand news media outlets is in the political spotlight, with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters saying it has eroded journalism standards.A traditional opponent of overseas ownership, Mr Peters told NZPA he was concerned about the profits of domestic media, banking and forestry companies going off shore.

Overseas ownership of New Zealand news media outlets is in the political spotlight, with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters saying it has eroded journalism standards.

A traditional opponent of overseas ownership, Mr Peters told NZPA he was concerned about the profits of domestic media, banking and forestry companies going off shore.

"It has also led to serious erosion of media standards and journalism reporting because people are given no time to do any work properly, instant sound bites have become the name of the game, and that is sliding its way into tabloid journalism," Mr Peters said.

International companies that owned New Zealand media outlets had failed to support investigative journalism and had "squeezed the professional capacity" out of the industry, he said.

"I'm the last one in the world that should be making a sympathetic argument for the journalists of this country, but I'm telling you that's exactly what happened."

Proper investigative journalism was essential for the democracy of a nation, Mr Peters said.

"If it's good enough for (Australian media magnate Rupert) Murdoch to have to become an American citizen to have to get into America (media) why are we behaving like this?"

Requiring a percentage of domestic ownership of media outlets was one way to prevent all the profits going overseas, he said.

New Zealand First is not represented in Parliament, after failing to secure enough votes in the 2008 election.

Both major New Zealand newspaper groups -- Fairfax and APN -- trace ownership to Australia, while Mediaworks (TV3) is owned by Ironbridge Capital, a leading independent Australasian private equity group, which purchased it off Canadian owners.

John Fairfax Holdings Ltd, which owns the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, is parent company of Fairfax NZ which in New Zealand has more than 18 businesses and divisions, including community, regional and national newspapers, magazine publishing, distribution and internet.

It owns The Dominion Post, Christchurch Press and Sunday Star-Times newspapers, stuff.co.nz, and magazines such as Cuisine and TV Guide.

APN News&Media's assets in this country include The New Zealand Herald, seven regional daily titles, magazines including the New Zealand Woman's Weekly and New Zealand Listener, and 50 percent of The Radio Network whose networks include NewstalkZB, Classic Hits and ZM.

The National Business Review is independent and privately and locally owned.

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