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New Report Details Racing's Economic Impact

Media Release


ATTENTION Chief reporter/Business editor

Racing is key contributor to economy

The racing industry contributes more than $1.4 billion worth of economic activity annually and creates the equivalent of 18,000 fulltime jobs, a New Zealand Racing Board report says.

The Size and Scope of New Zealand Racing Industry report released today reveals that the direct economic impact of the racing industry is $445 million, with the industry itself sustaining over 9,000 fulltime jobs every year. When the flow-on economic impacts are included, the contribution of the industry rises to $1.4 billion, or about 1.3% of New Zealand's GDP.

As well contributing significantly to GDP, racing generates more than $60 million in tax annually from wagering, in addition to the taxes paid on wages and other expenditure.

NZ Racing Board Chairman Warren Larsen says the Size and Scope report released today underlines racing's economic importance and provides a basis for industry decision making.

"It reiterates the importance of effectively managing the industry for the good of participants and the wider economy," he says.

The report was prepared by Australian consultants IER and complements research on the contribution of the breeding and training sectors of the Northern Thoroughbred industry being undertaken by the New Zealand Equine Research Foundation and Massey University. Some key figures used in the IER report were sourced from this research.

"We are very grateful that the Equine Research Foundation and Massey University have provided some of their interim results", Mr Larsen says. The Foundation and Massey are undertaking further research, which will provide greater detail about the breeding and training industries' economic contribution.

The IER report also details the racing industry's economic significance region-by-region (see table below).

"The underlying strength of the industry is in provincial regions, where racing and breeding are mainstays of society and a dynamic contributor to local employment," Mr Larsen says. "In areas like, Waikato, Southland, Manawatu-Wanganui, and Canterbury, racing is hugely important.

"On the other hand, the expenditure figures for Auckland and Wellington suggest there is a significant potential for growth in these areas and that the industry needs to work harder to connect with people living in these cities."

The report also reveals racing's strong links with the community. More than 30,000 people are involved in the breeding, rearing and training of racehorses and greyhounds and another 10,000 participate through racing clubs and providing betting. In addition, 330 community organisations share race club facilities or resources and over 240 community events are supported by race clubs.

"The racing industry, with its heritage, has a responsibility to work with community organisations and share race club facilities and resources," Mr Larsen says.

More than 1 million people attend New Zealand race meetings each year, spending $54.7 million on betting, food, drink, transport and accommodation, the report says.

Mr Larsen says the NZ Racing Board will focus on developing the on-course experience for both regular and once-a-year attendees. "The on-course experience is our shop-window that helps form people's impressions of the industry."

Mr Larsen says this report is different from other reports on racing. "This report isn't about what the industry has done wrong but what it's got right and its potential to achieve even more. For instance, the New Zealand racing industry has a number of comparative advantages over those in other countries through its contribution to exports and its growth potential. We need to further exploit these."

"So this report is not going to sit on a shelf. It will bring focus and direction to the industry debate, and quickly."

In addition to the Size and Scope Report and Community Benefits Study, the NZ Racing Board has also commissioned a report on customer perceptions of the industry.

Mr Larsen says the NZ Racing Board wants to grow the customer and owner base and the Customer Perception Study provides the information it needs to go about achieving this. "The racing product must be exciting, relevant and accessible to our customers. We need to get our image right, keep focussing on customers and remember that we are in the entertainment business."

"IER and Massey University are breaking new ground with their studies", Mr Larsen says. "Having this research enables us for the first time to get a full picture of the whole industry as well as providing a knowledge base we can use in our planning and decision making.

"The NZ Racing Board represents the interests of all racing industry sectors and we want to work with the Code Governing Bodies, the wider industry and Government to strengthen racing and its contribution to New Zealand's economy."

NZ Racing Industry's regional expenditure per capita


Industry spend per capita



Bay of Plenty






Hawke's Bay




















West Coast


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