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Forced 'Voluntary' Quotas Are Blackmail

Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs has forced radio stations to introduce `Kiwi' quotas to get around advice that New Zealand would face international legal action if mandatory quotas were introduced, ACT Broadcasting Spokesman MP Penny Webster said today.

"The Government's deal with the Warehouse to push New Zealand music is intervention on an insidious and frightening level. It's going back to telling us what we have to buy. What's next? This interfering is scary.

"The Government is force-feeding New Zealanders local music regardless of the quality. The only likes and dislikes allowed in New Zealand are those of Ms Hobbs and her friends in the Beehive.

"The Minister was warned off mandatory quotas because they would breach our international trade agreements, including our obligations under CER and WTO. Diplomatic sources from the United States have already approached local radio stations to gather evidence on how quotas would harm free trade. The United States planned to use our mandatory radio quotas as ammunition to quash our complaints about tariffs on New Zealand lamb.

"These forced quotas are the result of blackmail. Nobody wins. Marian Hobbs' assertion that New Zealand musicians need `help' is rubbish. New Zealanders have always been able to foot it with the best. Look at the Oscars from last night.

"The amount of New Zealand music on radio has doubled in the past three years, as our local industry has matured. Forcing the Government's taste on the rest of us is unfair and ridiculous," Mrs Webster said.


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