As part of a recent meeting of the National Council, the recently appointed HRNZ Chair Phil Holden and Vice-Chair Cam Bray, asked to present their vision for the future of the Board and the Industry.
The plan was to have the Board involved in strategic governance, while leaving operational decisions to the management and staff, in other words looking into, and planning for the future. This would include changes to the Constitution, ensuring the Board is functioning properly and include people with necessary skills.
The Entain deal presented huge opportunities but also challenges to improve the Code’s performance, to ensure it is well positioned when the initial 5-year arrangement expires. Venues and training centres were a priority, with a national footprint to be created with set criteria so that all venues know what is required for them to continue. This will be circulated for consultation prior to it being implemented, so that good decisions can be made, and will hopefully be presented to the Annual Conference. The Sapere review, which was funded by NZ Racing and the DIA, was considered too regionalised, and has been set aside. Focus was to be on what suited harness racing before discussing with other Codes.
Horse numbers were considered critical, and ideas on breeding and exports were being looked at. Various consultants will be employed to work through necessary issues to improve the Industry, including improving the HRNZ data base, creating a new business model, and the education of participants.
Also present was Catherine McDonald, who stressed that the management would still be operating under guidelines set by the Board, however, their actions will not be held up by having to refer every matter to the Board for approval. This would involve changes to the Constitution.
A further report on the meeting will be published next week.