A key man in an organisation responsible for integrity matters in the New Zealand racing industry has stepped down.

The Racing Integrity Unit today announced Ross Neal had resigned from his co-chief stipendiary steward role.

In a statement released on its website this afternoon, it said Mr Neal had decided to step down for "personal reasons".

"I am and continue to be passionate about the integrity and performance of our industry and believe I have been true to the intent and purpose of my role throughout my time in this role," he said.


"My commitment to the reputation of the industry has seen me make the extremely difficult decision to resign. However, I will continue to be an avid supporter."

The decision comes after it was reported in late May that Mr Neal had been with former licensing secretary for Harness Racing NZ, Lynair O'Connell, the night she suffered a heart attack.

She died a few days later in hospital.