The elections are fast approaching and the political parties have been releasing their polices in the past few weeks and months, but the racing portfolio has been the forgotten child in many cases.
As of yesterday, New Zealand First is the only party who have released an election policy on racing. Neither Labour nor National had done so at the time of writing.
NZ First's election policy includes a 10-point plan that aims to enhance the financial position of the industry and boost its image on the world stage.
NZ First leader Winston Peters was Racing Minister from 2005 through to 2008 and implemented a number of well received policies in that time.
One of the key points in their election policy is to increase the level of minimum stakes. The industry has already seen a minimum stakes increase this year to $10,000, however, NZ First plan on increasing this by 50 per cent to $15,000.
Below is NZ First's 10-point plan:
Return a greater proportion of industry taxation to the racing codes.
Introduce a new (below Premier Meeting) category of meeting where every race will be for $15,000 minimum, with relativity across the codes.
Enhance employment and export opportunities by working with the industry to improve the international status of New Zealand Group One races to attract greater international interest.
Restore marque racing plans and prize money initiatives in line with New Zealand First policy implementation 2005-08.
Introduce means policies assisting importation of quality mares and properly using the sire cost writedown.
Urgently review the operations and costs of the New Zealand Racing Board.
Continue to support projects and initiatives, e.g. the Racing Safety Development Fund (a contestable fund of $1.5 million per annum, matching dollar for dollar contributions from racing clubs) that enhances safety and improves the quality of facilities, in the racing industry, including the safety of riders, handlers, spectators, officials and others involved in racing codes, as well as the health and safety of animals.
Direct IRD and Treasury to respect the spirit of the laws passed to assist racing so we do not have specious departmental interpretations of laws that are clear to the industry.
Further improve the appeal of the racing industry to a wider audience by encouraging the promotion of "family-friendly" activities in conjunction with race meetings in all codes.
Defend the historic, modest share of the racing industry, to lawful gambling proceeds, against unreasonable attacks.
- NZ Racing Desk