Rotorua and Taupō Racing Clubs have successfully applied for Government funding to improve racecourse safety.

Minister for Racing Winston Peters announced yesterday the Government had invested $389,351 in 17 projects to improve safety at racecourses around the country.

The grants are made available through the Racing Safety Development Fund which provides $1 million annually to racecourse safety across two funding rounds.

This year's second funding round has supported a range of infrastructure projects including track maintenance equipment, mobile barrier vehicle upgrades, replacement running rails and a greyhound track LED lighting upgrade.


Rotorua Racing Club successfully applied for $10,000 for stable ground sealing.

Taupō Racing Club will receive $35,647 for new running rails.

Racing Rotorua chief executive Damien Radesic said it was an excellent feeling to receive this funding from the Government.

"The government funding helps take down the expenses involved in maintaining the property."

He said the stable grounds sealing was one of those jobs that had needed to be done over the last few years but had been put off due to the cost.

Radesic said it was a $30,000 expenditure and would make the grounds safer for the horses by the stables.

In September last year a report commissioned by Racing Minister Winston Peters and overseen by Australian racing administrator and breeder John Messara was released.

The Messara report recommended reducing race tracks in the country from 48 to 28 over six years. Racing clubs would remain but not necessarily have a home ground.


It recommended the closure of the Rotorua track from the 2023/24 racing season and prompted an outcry and shock in Rotorua.

Radesic said the Rotorua Racing Club was going to continue racing in Rotorua for the next five years even if anything came of the Messara report, so receiving funding was not a surprise.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) had released its own proposal earlier this year on the future of race tracks in New Zealand and Rotorua's closure was not recommended.

Racing Rotorua chief executive Damien Radesic at Arawa Park. Photo / File
Racing Rotorua chief executive Damien Radesic at Arawa Park. Photo / File

Racing Reform Bill submissions also closed last Tuesday, with the Rotorua Racing Club submitting that it supported the Messara report recommendations in principle but not the recommendation to cease racing at Arawa Park.

Radesic said he was feeling positive about racing in Rotorua.

"I think we've got a lot to offer and we are going to keep racing. That is the stance we've taken."

The next funding round opens for applications on July 31 2019 and closes on September 25 2019.

New Zealand's racing clubs, and the respective code bodies, are encouraged to apply to the fund where there are safety improvements that need assistance.