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NZ First: Speech to New Zealand Trainers' Association

NZ First: Speech to New Zealand Trainers' Association

New Zealand Trainers’ Association AGM

Friday, 1 August, 4.30pm
Apprentice School, next to the Main Office, Riccarton Racecourse

New Zealand First and the Racing Industry

Thank you for the invitation to this important function, and the opportunity to speak to you about New Zealand First’s policy in relation to the racing industry.

This first thing to say is that we have a racing policy because we believe this is a significant industry.

Racing is not a “virtual” industry!

Racing in New Zealand directly and indirectly makes a major contribution to GDP – we estimate not far short of $2 billion dollars annually when a complete analysis is done.

The industry employs tens of thousands of people and has a great export potential.

And it is an industry that provides employment, enjoyment and entertainment for many.

Racing is an integral part of the Kiwi way of life.

New Zealand First has made a significant contribution to the racing industry.

In 2006, New Zealand First recognised the export potential of the New Zealand breeding industry and the need for improved international marketing, and achieved a much improved taxation regime through a reduction in totalisator duty and an accelerated write-down regime for bloodstock.

In addition, the widely supported decision to permit racehorses sold for export to remain in New Zealand for up to 24 months without attracting GST was a further fillip to the industry and to the New Zealand economy.

Furthermore, New Zealand First implemented a policy of internationally competitive stakes for racing codes, and an industry safety plan.

These achievements gave the sector a valuable boost.

They provided the industry with a real impetus to enhance its economic contribution and hence create more jobs, more exports, and more income for New Zealand.

The returns to the New Zealand Treasury far outweighed the enlightened investment as we then argued it would.

Over the past six years National has done nothing for the racing industry.

As in other areas its hallmark is neglect of the fundamentals.

As a result so much of the impetus to revive the racing industry has been squandered and lost.

Without a sympathetic government inevitably the general context will deteriorate.

So New Zealand First has been very unimpressed by IRD and Treasury departmental attempts to re-interpret clearly established statutory provisions against the industry’s health and interests.

New Zealand First has a Ten-Point Plan designed to maximise New Zealand's internationally recognised advantage in the development of race horses and to rebuild our country's reputation as a race horse breeding country of most interest to the world.

New Zealand First will:

1. Return a greater proportion of industry taxation to the racing codes.

2. Introduce a new (below Premier Meeting) category of meeting where every race will be for $15,000 minimum, with relativity across the codes.

3. Enhance employment and export opportunities by working with the industry to improve the international status of New Zealand Group 1 races to attract greater international interest.

4. Restore marque racing plans and prize money initiatives in line with New Zealand First policy implementation 2005–2008.

5. Return New Zealand racing to what it was good at. Racing needs breeding programmes to re-establish New Zealand as a first tier country in racing. That means policies assisting importation of quality mares, and properly using the sire cost write down.

6. Urgently review the operations and costs of the New Zealand Racing Board.

7. Continue to support and update projects and initiatives, e.g. the Racing Safety Development Fund (a contestable fund of $1.5 million per annum, matching dollar for dollar contributions from racing clubs) that enhances safety and improves the quality of facilities in the racing industry, including the safety of riders, handlers, spectators, officials and others involved in racing codes, as well as the health and safety of animals.

8. Direct IRD and Treasury to respect the spirit of the laws passed to assist racing and stop specious departmental interpretations of laws that are clear to the industry.

9. Further improve the appeal of the racing industry to a wider audience by encouraging the promotion of “family-friendly” activities in conjunction with race meetings in all codes.

10. Defend the historic, modest share of the racing industry, to lawful gambling proceeds, against unreasonable attacks.

This is a realistic plan supports the industry's objectives to increase its economic contribution, creating more jobs, more exports and more income for New Zealand.

In conclusion it can be said that New Zealand First has the record of responding to the needs of the New Zealand racing industry.

It’s a unique record which we will build upon in the future.

Thank you.

ENDS

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