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Obscene handout to race winners

May 20, 2008

Obscene handout to race winners

A $9 million handout to wealthy race horse owners is a disgrace says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

CEO John Stansfield says it is obscene that the racing industry that already receives $1.8 million a month in pokie funding and generous tax concessions is getting even more taxpayer money in this week's budget.

Two years ago the racing industry was given duty relief of $32 million. About $18 went towards increasing stakes.

"A week or so ago the Child Poverty Action Group published a damning report on child poverty in New Zealand," Mr Stansfield says.

"Every school in the country is crying out for more funding.

"The list of things this money could be spent on goes on and on."

Mr Stansfield says that a couple of weeks ago a spokesperson for NZ Thoroughbred Racing was reported as saying his organisation received enough money from the TAB to run successful race meetings.

"We have NZTR saying they don't even need the pokie money they get, let alone a huge handout of taxpayer money on top of that.

"This is an extraordinary way for government funding to work.

"I suspect it is about who you know, and what favours you owe, not what your need is."

The racing industry is celebrating its new capacity to fund more $1 million stakes races but Mr Stansfield says there appears to be little evidence that increasing the number of high stake races was bringing any real benefit to racing or the country as a whole.

"You won't see the small racing clubs that are struggling benefiting from this money. It will end up in the hands of an elite group who already have more money than they know what to do with.

"The minute this handout is cemented in the champagne crowd who are rich enough to have horses in this sort of race will just start demanding $2million stakes paid for by the taxpayer.

"You can be sure they will never be happy no matter how much we give them.

"Meanwhile manufacturers struggle to keep people in employment and ordinary Kiwis battle to meet soaring food and petrol prices."


© Scoop Media

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