This morning, Bauer Media Group announced it would be officially closing the New Zealand side of its publishing business.
The press release stated the all New Zealand Bauer staff have been advised this morning that the business is no longer viable and that it intends to close.
Brendon Hill, ANZ CEO said: “This is a devastating blow for our committed and talented team who have worked tirelessly to inform and entertain New Zealanders, through some of the country’s best-loved and most-read magazines.”
Magazine publishing in New Zealand is currently suspended as part of the New Zealand Government’s decision to move to the Covid-19 Level 4 restrictions. Mr Hill said: “We understand the New Zealand Government’s decision to move to Covid-19 Level 4, but it has put our business in an untenable position. Publishing in New Zealand is very dependent on advertising revenue and it is highly unlikely that demand will ever return to pre-crisis levels.”
Mr Hill said: “An active search is underway to find buyers for our New Zealand assets, including our many iconic titles, however, so far an alternative owner has not been found.”
Bauer Media Group has confirmed its intent to close the New Zealand business to its staff and that funding will be provided to enable all staff to be paid their full redundancy and leave entitlements.
Mr Hill concluded: “I would like to recognise the impact that this decision will have on our suppliers, customers and the wider publishing industry. This is a very difficult time for the entire media industry.”
Updated by the editor:
In an update by Jacinda Arden, she expressed sadness for the closure of the business but confirms that the government offered Bauer wage help to keep the business afloat, which was denied by the German owners.
“Bauer closing was at the same time as Covid-19, but not because of it,” she said during a nation wide update.
“Within a couple of days of New Zealand government announcing the lockdown, Bauer contacted the minister and told him they were not interested in subsidies. They didn’t enter a conversation about becoming an essential service, they didn’t seek to continue to operate in lockdown and they didn’t want to use the government support to keep their doors open. So I reject any suggestion that Covid-19 and ur response to it has caused them to shut their printing press but I deeply regret that they have. In my view they should have taken it up and should of keep going.”
The decision of the parent company to close Bauer puts just over 250 jobs on the line.