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Racing Must Live Within Its Means – NZRIB

The racing industry must continue to address the issue of restricting expenditure to income, New Zealand Racing Industry Board (NZRIB) Chairman, Rick Bettle, said today.

Releasing the Board’s Annual Report 2000, Mr Bettle said that as competition for cash increased, cutting overheads and increasing efficiency must be explored to ensure all systems continued to be appropriate and affordable.

“The Board will not use one-off gains, such as the $11.4 million from the sale of the TAB’s RadioWorks shares, to meet the industry’s operating costs. Instead, this money will be invested long-term for the benefit of the racing industry,” he said.

“The Board has established a special taskforce to explore the options with the Codes and, once that has been completed, we will decide how the money can best be invested.”

Mr Bettle said the racing industry faced many other threats to its success and Racing Minister, Hon Annette King, had been very receptive to a new structure, which would also reduce administrative costs. This involved a merger of the TAB and the NZRIB to provide a more commercially focused framework to deal with industry issues.

“Racing needs this new structure now. We have some big decisions to make, and we need a commercial model which will enable every sector of the industry to have a voice in deciding what is best for the future.

“We remain hopeful that a new Racing Bill will be introduced into Parliament early this year and the new combined Board will be in place for the start of the 2001/2002 racing season.”

Mr Bettle said the NZRIB was continuing with its push to gain a more equitable tax regime for racing, and would make a significant submission to the Gaming Review.

“We welcome the Gaming Review and we will be pushing hard for relief from gaming duty for the racing industry. Racing urgently needs such relief and we are asking Government to recognise that as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the completion of the Review in two years. We have pointed out the fundamental differences between racing and other forms of gaming, particularly with regard to costs, returns to owners, regional employment and export receipts.

“The NZRIB is also urging the Government, the largest beneficiary from gambling, to provide some guidance on gambling to future generations through the education system. It is simply not enough to rely on other agencies to counteract the difficulties of problem gambling,” Mr Bettle said.

The NZRIB would continue to make valuable contributions to equine research, promotion of racing and ownership development activities.

Ends

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