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Better Late Than Never?

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 26 June 2020
The revitalisation of New Zealand racing has taken a significant step forward following the passing of the Racing Industry Bill following its third and final reading today at Parliament. Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) Executive Chair Dean McKenzie said the Bill, which transfers racing administration functions to the racing codes and establishes TAB New Zealand (NZ) with a clear mandate as a commercial betting operator, delivers the critical reform required to enable the industry reach its potential.

"The changes which underpin the Racing Industry Bill require the TAB to have a resolute focus on our customers and maximising profit for the racing industry and returns for sports, while at the same time ensuring a strong commitment to responsible gambling.

"Many of the changes enabled by this Bill have been mooted for decades but never progressed. It's significant to see some of these proposals finally put into action.

"RITA was established by the Minister for Racing one year ago to enable the transition of the industry into a financially sustainable future. Despite the significant impact of COVID-19, the Government has been steadfast in their commitment to New Zealand's racing industry and tens of thousands of New Zealanders who depend on it for their livelihoods."

In addition to the creation of TAB NZ and additional responsibilities for the Codes, the changes include a requirement for offshore bookmakers to pay for their use of New Zealand racing and sport information, a new approval authority for introducing new wagering products, changes to address unresolved, historic venue structure issues, the establishment of the Racing Integrity Board and the creation of Racing New Zealand as a collaborative forum of the the racing codes.

The passing of the Bill results in the dissolving of RITA, however the current Board of RITA has been confirmed as the interim Board of TAB NZ pending future appointments under the new legislative process by the incoming Government.

McKenzie added that the new Bill provided added impetus for the racing industry to work together in a positive and constructive way under a new framework.

"The passing of two pieces of far-reaching racing legislation in the last 12 months has given the New Zealand racing industry all the necessary levers to enable it to deliver a financially sustainable future. What it does with those levers presents unprecedented, generational opportunity."
Let’s hope it’s all not too late!

Pete Cook

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