Changing the face of racing

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP

The report into the state of New Zealand’s racing industry by Australian expert John Messara was released last week, and was largely welcomed by racing enthusiasts who are at their wit’s end over the lack of support shown by previous governments.

I was pleased to be at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton for the announcement and to read that among the 28 race fields recommended to remain from the current 48, Tauranga is among the survivors. Reducing the number of race fields is a proposed mechanism to get the racing industry back on its feet, but is only one positive move in a suite of changes put forward by Messara, who reformed the NSW industry.

Other measures include outsourcing our betting platform (TAB) to an international provider to achieve greater efficiency and open NZ racing up to larger markets, changing the structure of the New Zealand Racing Board, renaming it Wagering New Zealand, and allowing the three racing codes to manage themselves in a way that would give them more flexibility and freedom.

In all, 17 recommendations were made, and I feel very positive for the future of racing in New Zealand if we manage to implement them all.

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