Sites need 1 of 2 things to survive (ideally both) Reach and relevance.
Unfortunately most NZ sites don't have Reach so need to be relevant, attracting attracting a high value audience.
Now you need to sell that "high value audience".
Selling stuff is expensive to do well.
You either hire a rep (Who needs great agency relationships to be a success) or you sell your audience through an ad network, where you become one of many sites being represented.
The ad agencies are under cost pressures also and looking for ways to be more efficient.
This results in a large proportion of media buys ending up on the same dozen sites or via their trading desks.
This isn't good for most NZ sites.
The industry needs to be reimagined for NZ publishers to survive.....
I work with a large number of NZ's digital publishers and am genuinely concerned about the commercial viability of many of them.
The current ad funded model is broken as it relies on advertisers paying a premium for an audience they can find cheaply elsewhere (Facebook, Google.....)
As the ad dollars decline, so too do the resources the publisher has at its disposal (journalists, designers, ......) This is a death spiral.
As a number of commenters have alluded to, the industry needs to be reimagined if we are to have quality local content in the (not to distant) future.