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Quotas For New Zealand Book Shops Next?!

"When will the Government require bookshops to ensure that they sell a minimum percentage of New Zealand books?" asks Libertarianz International Trade spokesman Scott Wilson "for that is the absurdity of her veiled call for local music quotas on radio. Local writers don't need or want quotas to ensure their success, so why should Hobbs engage in what is a fascist attempt to dictate programming?".

"The commercial radio industry in New Zealand should call Marian Hobb's bluff and tell her to "bugger off".There is nothing voluntary about a Minister telling the industry they should do something or else she will force them to do it - it is no more voluntary than the mafia asking for a 'donation'!" says Wilson.

"In fact, if Hobbs tries to introduce a quota, the commercial radio industry should warn the Minister that she would probably be breaching two international free trade treaties that the Government is a signatory to:

1. Under New Zealand's horizontal commitments on audio-visual services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the WTO, New Zealand is bound to maintain "national treatment" for all music produced from the other 135 GATS signatory countries, which means that music from those countries cannot be discriminated against under New Zealand law. 2. Under the CER agreement with Australia, New Zealand must grant "national treatment" to music produced in Australia, meaning that (as the Australian television quota requires) any quota that says "New Zealand music" automatically must include Australian.

"I call on the commercial radio industry to stand proud and tall, tell Marian Hobbs THEY own their radio stations; if she wants to set up one with her own money, she is free to purchase frequencies as she sees fit. Foreign owned radio networks might want to consider what rights their governments may have under the WTO to bring the New Zealand Government to account over this" he declared.

"What disturbs me most," Wilson concluded, "is that Hobbs' desire 'to ensure that New Zealanders hear more of their country in their music and for us all to experience the cultural and economic advantages that brings'!"

"Who the hell is Marian Hobbs to say ANY New Zealander SHOULD listen to ANY music produced here if they don't want to? I decide what culture I want to consume, I will NOT have the Government dictate to me that there are 'cultural advantages' listening to something just because it is made in New Zealand. Some New Zealand music appeals to me, some does not, but my ears and my life belong to me, and I will NOT be dictated to by Herr Hobbs and her Goebbels like attitude to culture!"

"If there isn't enough on the radio, will she set up speakers like in the North Koreanstreets to bombard us with the "cultural advantages" of what she wants us to hear?" he concluded.

It's enough to make me vote Libertarianz!

ENDS

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