The Commerce Minister is refusing to comment on reports the government is backing a new bid from NZME to buy Stuff.
NZME has confirmed it is in discussions with Stuff’s owners Nine, and has put a proposal to the government regarding a “possible transaction”.
NZME said the discussions were still in an early stage and no decision had been made and there could be no certainty “at this stage” that the discussions will result in a transaction.
Stuff has reported that NZME is proposing a “Kiwishare” arrangement that would ringfence Stuff’s editorial operations and protect local journalism.
The Commerce Commission has previously rejected a proposal to merge the two companies, on the grounds of a loss of plurality of media voices in New Zealand.
Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi said he had regular conversations with heads of media companies, but would not confirm whether he has been lobbied by NZME on any new proposal.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people on the situation around public media and commercial media, and I’m not going to get into any detail because I have a lot of commercially sensitive conversations, and if I start breaking those arrangements, no-one will talk to me anymore.”
This story originally appeared on Radio New Zealand.