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Plans for new racing industry legislation outlined

17 April 2019

The Government will introduce two new pieces of legislation this year to make changes to the domestic racing industry, Racing Minister Winston Peters says.

He says Cabinet has considered its response to the ‘Messara Review of the Racing Industry’ as well as advice from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Racing.

“The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline. 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,” Mr Peters says.

“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 1 July 2019, will put into immediate effect a transitional governance arrangement.  This bill proposes the New Zealand Racing Board be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry.

Mr Peters says this bill will also bring some financial relief for the industry by making offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders.

Background information

Documents and background information on the legislation are available here.

Mr Peters says Bill No.1 will provide the Government’s first legislative response to the Messara Report. The current legislative framework for the New Zealand Racing Board does not enable the necessary changes required.

"With Bill No. 1 it is proposed that the NZRB is reconstituted as RITA, with changed membership and an amended legislative mandate that encompasses change management alongside the day-to-day operations of the racing industry.

"Subject to the passing of Bill No.1 it is proposed that the transition commence on 1 July 2019, with the future transition to the final industry structure to take place at a time determined by Bill No. 2."

He says Bill No. 1 also seeks agreement to include several proposals that address the industry’s need for supplementary revenue to ensure long-term financial sustainability.

The agreed provisions include proposals from the Racing Amendment Bill 2017 which aim to make offshore betting operators contribute to racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders.

"Bill No. 2 will proceed later in 2019 and will cover issues which will implement the remaining reforms, post-transition governance and other changes.

"Further analysis of Bill No.2 is underway by officials pending decisions from RITA."

Last updated on the 16th September 2019