Sir Patrick Hogan is urging racing participants to vote New Zealand First in reaction to the party's announcement that it is backing the establishment of an all-weather track.
NZ First's associate spokesperson for racing Clayton Mitchell announced the additional policy in a press release late last week, saying the racing industry was being held back with too many meetings cancelled due to poor weather conditions. "Each year more than 30 meetings are abandoned which is not only costly financially but it also hugely inconvenient for the public, trainers, jockeys and all those working in the industry," Mitchell said.
"The horse racing industry is extremely keen to get a state-of-the-art all-weather racetrack established but they need central government to play a role in making this possible.
"Unlike the government which has been apathetic towards such a proposal, New Zealand First supports them fully. There must be greater certainty to ensure money is not being lost and that the public interest is maintained, especially now with so much competition for the discretionary dollar."
Hogan, a vocal supporter of Winston Peters during his time as Racing Minister during the mid-2000s, said he and his wife Justine, Lady Hogan were throwing their support behind NZ First in the wake of the party championing a Government-backed all-weather track.
"We're supporting this together," he said. "The most urgent necessity in the racing industry is the development of an all-weather track. New Zealand First already has the most racing-friendly policy of any of the political parties and this shows they understand what's most important for the industry.
"The industry cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity. Through Winston Peters, New Zealand First is the only political party that shows a passion for our industry, an industry that does its fair share of contributing to the overall economy of this country."
Hogan has canvassed all the major parties in the run up to Saturday's general election, but said NZ First was the only party actively supporting an all-weather track with Government backing. The cost of such a project is estimated at between $15 and $18 million.
"That New Zealand First has come out with their policy for racing that the industry requires an all-weather track is a very positive outcome," Hogan said.
"To all those eligible to vote - owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, administrators, punters and the many businesses that are financially supported by the industry, this is an enormous opportunity to support New Zealand First's initiative to deliver 100 per cent of what we've been asking for.
"This election there is only one horse to back. New Zealand First has the race record. It's now up to us to have what we want by making our party vote in favour of New Zealand First."
- NZ Racing Desk