New Zealand to act to combat industry’s ‘serious decline’

Racing Minister Winston Peters (left) with leading owner-breeder Sir Peter Vela at Ellerslie races. Photo: Trish Dunell

New Zealand racing minister Winston Peters says the Government will introduce two new pieces of legislation this year to revitalise the domestic racing industry. 

Cabinet this week considered its response to the ‘Messara Review of the Racing Industry’ as well as advice from the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Racing. 

“The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline,” Peters said. “The Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms. We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential. 

“As a result, Cabinet has agreed to a stepped approach with the introduction of two bills to amend the Racing Act 2003.” 

The first bill, due to be enacted by July 1, will put into immediate effect a transitional governance arrangement. This bill proposes the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry. 

This bill will also bring some financial relief for the industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy, by making offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders. 

“It is essential to have this transitional governance in place. RITA will have a legislative mandate that encompasses change management as well as the current business-as-usual functions and powers of the NZRB,” Peters said. 

“As a result of RITA’s work, the Government anticipates a second racing amendment bill to proceed later in 2019. It will implement the remaining reforms including post-transition governance.” 

The Cabinet papers are being proactively released as well as the MAC interim report. They can be found here.



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