Guy: Speech to Thoroughbred Racing Horse of the Year
14 AUGUST, 2014
Speech to Thoroughbred Racing Horse of the Year
It’s fantastic to be here this evening to celebrate the best of thoroughbred racing in New Zealand.
I want to extend my congratulations to all the finalists, and award winners tonight.
We’ve seen some fantastic performances from our horsemen, horsewomen, and your horses.
This includes: Dundeel in the top 20 world rankings; Silent Achiever and Rising Romance winning several top races in Australia; and Vespa, the tough two year old, trained by Jono in my home patch of Otaki winning the Karaka Million.
Congratulations also to jockey James McDonald who won the Golden Slipper aged just 22. Well done, and the list goes on.
Tonight I want to give you a snapshot of the last 12-18 months.
Last year I appointed a new Racing Board Chair in Glenda Hughes to take a fresh approach to revitalising racing in New Zealand.
I set my expectation to the Board that they work on a cohesive vision for racing that can be turned into concrete objectives and actions.
The past year has seen some encouraging results. Betting turnover is up, and there is record returns to the three codes from the Board and its non-casino gaming machines
I was heavily involved through the Flavell Bill process to ensure that revenue from non-casino gaming machines could still benefit the racing industry. This is estimated to be worth $8-12 million per year.
More recently we’ve announced that IRD will work with the Breeders Association to help clarify the interpretation of taxation issues. You need more certainty on the rules, and there has been a great first meeting.
I’ve been around the industry a while now and I’m very aware you are a big employer and a big part of the regional and national economy.
I see that not just as the Racing Minister, but as the Minister for Primary Industries and the MP for Otaki. Thanks for what you do!
The industry has some challenges ahead. By some estimates, online gambling has almost quadrupled since the Racing Act was passed in 2003. This “leakage” is a very important issue for the industry.
It is a complicated issue. Careful consideration needs to be given to the workability and enforceability of any solution.
I’m prepared to take action and I’m committed to finding practical options with the aim of implementing a solution.
I will be prioritising my officials to work closely with the industry after the election, if we are fortunate enough to be re-elected.
My officials will reach out across the Tasman to learn from the Australian experience. I built some great relationships with Australian Racing Ministers and their officers when we hosted them in Wellington earlier this year for the Australasian Ministers Racing conference.
I wish you well for the new racing season.