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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

      M E D I A   L A W   

      I N T E R N A T I O N A L   ®


Streaming and social media remain prominent in the media market in New Zealand while content regulation has been a key topic, say media lawyers.

“In both Australia and New Zealand, there are significant developments in this area”, explained Jordan Cox, Partner at Webb Henderson.

He continued: “The Online Safety Act 2021 came into force in Australia. The Act seeks to promote the capacity of Australians, including children, to use social media services and electronic services in a safe manner. Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is overseeing a content regulatory review.”

In other legislative developments, New Zealand’s Broadcasting Minister, Willie Jackson, announced plans for legislation requiring online platforms to “pay a fair price” to news media for their content.

The government’s move, announced in November, follows Australia’s 2021 News Media Mandatory Bargaining Code and Canada’s proposed Online News Act. Media business models, particularly newspapers, have been eroded by the move to online advertising, eroding business models.

According to industry figures, newspapers had a 40 per cent share of domestic advertising spend in amounting to NZD606 million in 2001. The figure declined to 26 per cent by 2011 and to just 10 per cent by 2021.

Commenting on the legislation, Mr Jackson said: “It’s not fair that the big digital platforms like Google and Meta get to host and share local news for free. It costs to produce the news and it’s only fair they pay.”

In February 2023, the government scrapped plans to merge New Zealand’s TVNZ and RNZ, its radio and television broadcasting companies, to create a new, non-profit public media entity.

Details of the merger were revealed in March last year by Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi in a move intended to strengthen the public media sector. RNZ and NZ will receive a funding boost to strengthen their public media role.


Buddle Findlays team works with private and public sectors clients on television and film production, radio and print media. Lawyers regularly advise on licensing, format, distribution, and output deals for programmes. Representative work includes assistance to Sky on programming deals for pay television including significant deals with ESPN, Fox Studios, Disney and MGM.

Chapman Tripp is visible across a range of cases, working with publishers and broadcasters on advertising and audio-visual matters. In highlighted work the TMT group assisted Spark with the establishment of its video-on-demand initiatives. Lawyers also represented ACP Media Limited in High Court defamation proceedings brought against its North & South publication. Other work involves assistance with co-production funding and production agreements.

Boutique firm Hudson Gavin Martin specialises in corporate and commercial aspects of media, intellectual property and technology. Simon Martin works with the team on cases of joint ventures, technology licensing and acquisitions. Lawyers have extensive experience in negotiating media contracts for franchising, sponsorship, licensing of content and the appearance of celebrities in videos and films


Media law specialist Bell Gully represents clients across print and broadcast sectors advising on defamation, intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. The media and entertainment practice advises on film and television, representing international film production companies on a full range of legal issues arising from their New Zealand-based productions, including tax and fiscal incentives. The firm specialises in defamation law, commercial litigation and dispute resolution.

Focussed on entertainment, Dominion Law acts for clients ranging from internationally successful artists in the music industry and film studios to first-time film producers. The team includes commercial lawyers who have particular expertise in the creative industries and handle contract negotiations and advise on all areas of rights exploitation.

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts focusses on film and entertainment. Lawyers advise on financing productions, content distribution and regulatory challenges. Working with domestic and international clients, the team assists with various stages of business from negotiation and implementation to operational issues and exits.

Simpson Grierson regularly advises on copyright licensing within the music and technology sectors. Lawyers have extensive experience assisting with lobbying and the implementation of digital copyright amendments. In highlighted work, the firm represented Seven Network on contract disputes relating to images in magazines imported into New Zealand. In other work the practice assisted Sony Music with enforcement and licensing of music repertoire.


Izard Weston’s media and entertainment practice is appointed by private and public sector media organisations and public figures. Lawyers represent clients in defamation disputes involving injunctions, suppression orders and breaches of privacy. On behalf of publishers and broadcasters, the team reviews newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, manuscripts and television and film productions prior to publication or broadcast.



Buddle Findlay

Chapman Tripp

Hudson Gavin Martin

Webb Henderson


Bell Gully

Dominion Law

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Simpson Grierson



AJ Park

Izard Weston

Russell McVeagh

Wilson Harle


Anthony Harper

Dentons Kensington Swan

James & Wells



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