New Zealand's $1.6 billion horse racing industry will receive a shot in the arm by the Government, which plans to "revitalise" the domestic racing industry with two new laws.
Racing Minister – and New Zealand First Leader – Winston Peters this morning announced the Government's intention to introduce two pieces of legislation to reverse the industry's "serious" state of decline.
One of the bills would bring some financial relief for the industry by making offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders.
This bill would be enacted on July 1 this year.
The legislation would also propose the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry.
The second bill, which Peters said will come before the House later this year, would cover issues which would implement other reforms, a post-transition governance system and other changes.
However, little detail has been offered at this stage.
The new laws are in response to the Messara Review of the Racing Industry' as well as advice from the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Racing.
The Messara Review, completed in August last year, confirmed the racing industry is in serious decline and has reached a tipping point. It made 17 major recommendations.
Peters appointed the MAC to advise the Government on how it could revitalise the racing industry.
The two pieces of legislation Peters announced today would help fix the sector.
"The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline," Peters said this morning.
He said the Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms.
"We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential."
New Zealand's racing industry contributed $1.6 billion to the NZ economy in 2016/17.