An all weather racing track is set to be built in the South Island, Racing Minister Winston Peters told the Southern racing industry in Invercargill last night.
The three racing codes held a public meeting in Invercargill where Peters told the crowd its industry was "terminal" unless it was dramatically changed.
Peters announced at the Karaka yearling sales in January that one all weather track would be built in New Zealand.
In Invercargill last night he tripled that number.
"We know that we are going to have to have three all weather tracks in this country,'' Peters said.
"There will be one probably around the Waikato, there will be one probably around Awapuni – I don't know where exactly – and one in the South Island.
"Likely to be near Chrischurch."
"You can't muck around, you can't have 38, 46, events being cancelled and all the losses involved."
Peters said the government would not simply stump up the money to pay for all three tracks.
"This will be funded, I might add, by the provincial growth fund, but we want clubs to put their share up as well.''
Peters hit out at those in the racing industry that are opposed to all weather tracks.
"I'm reading people saying all-weather racetracks are nonsense.''
"Well, leave your horse at home then, it will be for those that want to have the horses there."
In his speech, Peters painted a bleak outlook for racing, should the industry not undergo drastic change.
"I believe racing is terminal unless something dramatic happens now."
"If we don't get this thing fixed up then this thing will drastically decline."
"Racing is situation critical, it is possibly terminal in the provinces in this country."
Peters pledged that the racing industry would better off once he was able to recommendations of the John Messara report on the industry.
Messara's report, which is due to be finished in the coming weeks, will be specifically focused on the thoroughbred industry.
But Peters said all three racing codes will be better off under his direction.
''I guarantee every code will be better off, it is not going to be difficult to do that.''
Peters said the racing industry only had itself to blame for being in decline.
''The truth is that there has been a failure across the industry to face the raw bitter hard facts.''
Peters used the New South Wales Racing industry, which was overhauled by Messara, as a beacon for success.
"They got John Messara in and he turned it upside down."
"Today they have announced that in New South Wales the total prize-money from September this year will be $260million, that is against our under $60million."
Peters confirmed that there would be no chance that the Racing Ammendment, known as the 'race fields legislation' which seeks to tax overseas bookmakers for the use of New Zealand betting products, would be made law.
Instead, he hinted at a total overhaul of that bill.
"The state of the industry right now, and I am not even mentioning the trots or the dogs, you're $200million in the crap already.''
"Anything like the race fields legislation can be the solution because no not one person behind it had any idea what was going on in the racing industry.''