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New Zealand Government Convergence Programme

Convergence describes the reduction in barriers between sectors, so that businesses have new opportunities and consumers benefit from greater choice and accessibility.

On 27 August 2015, Hon Amy Adams, then Minister for Communications and Minister of Broadcasting, launched a green paper to consider the impact of convergence between the telecommunications, information technology, media and entertainment sectors in New Zealand.

While these exciting changes are simplifying our lives and creating new opportunities, our laws haven’t kept pace. They treat different technologies separately, rather than as a whole. For example, a show broadcast on TV can fall under different laws than when it’s streamed on demand via the web. This is confusing, restrictive and dampens innovation.

“We need to consider the implications of convergence across the regulatory framework and ask whether our systems are calibrated for this converged world that we live in.”

The green paper highlights the government’s cross departmental convergence work programme which aims to create a level playing field for content and information, regardless of what type of technology delivers it. An overview of this work can be found on the Work Programme page and the full paper is available in the Exploring Digital Convergence section of the Convergence website.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage intends to approach key stakeholders following the 2017 General Election to discuss detailed proposals relating to the Digital Convergence Bill.

The Bill is scheduled to have its First Reading and be referred to Select Committee by the end of 2017. It will update the Broadcasting Act 1989.

The Broadcasting portfolio was disestablished by Prime Minister Bill English on 18 December 2016 as part of his Cabinet reorganisation. The portfolio’s responsibilities were split between the Communications portfolio – led by Communications Minister Simon Bridges – and the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio – led by Minister Maggie Barry.

Read A new Bill and two redrawn portfolios for further information

Submissions on the discussion paper Content Regulation in a Converged World closed on 16 October 2015. The Ministry received 50 submissions in response to the discussion paper. The submissions can be viewed here.

Read an August 2016 media release providing an update about the convergence work programme.

Visit our Convergence website for more details.

Updated on 10th August 2017