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Hobbs' Quota Meddling Threatens New Zealand Trade

Marian Hobbs' veiled threats to broadcasters, and the consequential imposition of local content quotas could threaten New Zealand's trade, says National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich.

"Music quotas are clearly against WTO rules, and self-imposed voluntary quotas as a result of Government pressure could be open to challenge through the WTO as well. OIA documents released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade show that officials told the Government in December 1999 that they couldn't implement quotas without violating the GATS agreement.

"Officials warned that even "indirect methods of imposing local content requirements...may be open to potential challenge". Worryingly, they also advise that retaliation by other Members may not be "necessarily limited to the audio visual sector". Do we really want to risk trade prospects for our exporters, just so Marian can control what is played on the radio?

"I am a huge fan and supporter of Kiwi music and I want to hear more of it on air. Bands like Fur Patrol and Pacifier show that we can foot it with the best in the world. But it's my view that more music will be played as great material is produced and the work of NZ on Air continues. It won't happen by forcing programmers to play music that otherwise wouldn't make it onto the play list," said Ms Rich.


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