The News Publishers' Association is deeply disappointed in the decision by NZ Post to cancel rural deliveries on Saturdays. It is another blow to New Zealand media in very challenging market conditions.

The Public Affairs Director of the NPA, Andrew Holden, said NZ Post’s decision would severely affect rural communities.

“Most regional paid newspapers rely heavily on NZ Post’s delivery services for distributing its key Saturday paper, which is traditionally the biggest and the most important for advertisers. Up to 25% of six-day subscribers in some regional markets receive their paper via NZ Post’s rural delivery.

“Their decision to cease mail and package delivery rurally mean some rural subscribers will not get access to their weekend papers. This will result in an overall decline in the provision of news from quality sources, and be yet another financial hit to our media companies.

“Publishers’ costs will increase significantly as they look to minimise the impact on their subscribers.

“In addition, rural and isolated community subscribers and readers have not transitioned to digital to the same extent as urban subscribers have, further highlighting the importance of print to those areas.

“Because of the significant reduction in revenue, it is likely that this decision will result in a number of the smaller regional newspapers ceasing print production altogether in the near future, becoming online titles only.

“This will affect all print subscribers and casual buyers of those titles, with the likely consequence being a further reduction of quality news readership.

“That is not a healthy consequence for New Zealand’s wider community, where information from quality news sources is so important with the rise of misinformation.”

Mr Holden said the decision by NZ Post comes in the same week that Warners Bros. Discovery and TVNZ may confirm further cuts to New Zealand journalism.

“There is no question that New Zealand media is under severe strain at the moment. Losing hundreds of journalism jobs will damage New Zealanders’ shared understanding of their communities, and there will be less scrutiny of those in positions of authority.

“The NPA and media companies have shared a range of ideas with the Government on how it can support local media. One of those steps is to confirm that the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, in amended form, will go back to Parliament. Once the Minister for Communications receives a Select Committee report on the Bill in May, we certainly hope to hear positive news about its progress.”