After more than fifteen years at the helm, Rob Lawson has announced that he is stepping down as Chair of the Trainers & Driver’s Association.
With the Association no longer having direct representation on the HRNZ Board, he would no longer be a member of the HRNZ Board in any case, however he is resigning from his positions on the Rules, Handicapping, and Animal Welfare Committees. In addition Rob has also resigned as President of Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness and the Cambridge Raceway Board, and is in the process of downsizing his training establishment.
His reasons for these very disappointing moves are personal, and a direct result of the recent issues surrounding his son Simon. In his letter of resignation he states:
“The reasons for my departure are of course my total disillusionment with the RIU and JCA handling of Simon’s case which of course I was very much involved in. What that did was destroy my faith in those bodies, and I cannot find the forgiveness in me to continue to operate alongside those particular bodies. My involvement in Harness Racing will diminish exponentially.”
In addition to all the above involvements in the harness racing industry, Rob has acted, on a voluntary basis, as a lay advocate (often successfully) in some of the highest profile JCA hearing over the past few years.
This is the sad reaction of a man whose involvement and input in our game has been enormous and invaluable, and his disillusionment is a glaring example of the damage that the current climate is creating.
In conclusion, Rob states: “I have enjoyed being part of the Association immensely and my decision in no way reflects upon the people in the organisation, who I rate as some of the best people I have ever met.”
From my point of view as National Secretary, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with Rob. I am extremely sad to see him bow out under such circumstances, and hope that, given changes that must surely come, he will reconsider his involvement in harness racing in the future.