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Odds not good for some small clubs despite boost

14 May 2007

Odds not good for some small clubs despite budget boost

Green Party Racing spokesperson Sue Bradford welcomes Winston Peters' pre-Budget announcement of a $1 million fund to improve racecourse facilities, but says more support is needed from Government and the racing industry to save many small clubs.

"There are a number of clubs around the country who I know will welcome any external assistance they can get with upgrading their tracks and general infrastructure, and the Minister is to be commended for taking a first step in the direction of support for some of the affected clubs," Ms Bradford says.

"However this announcement only serves to underline a deeper issue of ongoing inequities in race day allocation and the distribution of betting proceeds amongst clubs around the country.

"It is no wonder that some of the smaller country and provincial clubs have problems with meeting the latest health and safety standards when a number of them have been systematically starved of good race dates and adequate funding over a number of years.

"This $1 million will be useful if it is spent in the right places but on its own it will not solve some of the structural difficulties faced by provincial and country racing which all too many seem willing to ignore."

"I call on the Minister to extend his support for clubs who are struggling with poor facilities to working with the Racing Board to develop policies and practices through the Codes which are fair for all clubs," Ms Bradford says.

"The Green Party believes the Racing Board should be doing more to meet its mandate under the 2003 Racing Act to ensure that NZ Thoroughbred Racing in particular is equitable and non discriminatory in the way it implements race date allocation and funding distribution.

"Many of the smaller racing clubs are the result of a hundred years or more of local commitment to building and maintaining a facility which is a key part of local economic and social life in comparatively remote communities.

"The Green Party would like to see both the Government and the Racing Board commit to doing everything they can to nurture these smaller clubs, rather than heading down a path of restructuring and so-called consolidation which would see some simply left to die," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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