New Zealand lawmakers should not be intimidated by threats from Google to remove its search engine from Australia, a tech expert says.
The US tech giant is arguing against new laws which would force it and other companies like Facebook to share royalties with news publishers, which it said would be onerous and damage local access to their services.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed lawmakers will not yield to "threats".
The proposed news code would tie Google and Facebook to mediated negotiations with publishers over the value of news content, if no agreement could be reached first.
Auckland University of Technology computer science professor Dave Parry said Google might well follow through with the threats, because barring Australians won't affect their bottom line too much.
Parry said Google uses a "parasitic" business model where they make money off other people's content.
"If they are seen as being under threat by having to pay for some of that content which they don't usually, then I can see [Google] wanting to make an example out of Australia on this."
The potential ban would put a "mark in the ground" over with how far Google was willing to go to defend its business interests, and the New Zealand Government should take note if it planned to introduce similar laws to Australia's, he said.
He added that New Zealand websites may benefit if the search engine was pulled, as Australian users would flock to Aotearoa's version of Google.
"Google really has to consider whether they want to go down this track for the whole world, because alternatives will turn up, and there are other free [search engines] out there.
"They may also find that if they drive users from their site to elsewhere, they might not come back," he said.
Parry said there is a growing appetite to look at how search engines and social media companies deal with local content, and now is the time for both media and tech enterprises to develop models which work, because they "don't seem to be working at the moment."
"When we look in five years time it will be different, it won't be the free for all we see now. Google is not as well protected against competition as they think they are, and there will be development in this area."