Grant Robertson's first major message as Minister of Racing was loud and clear: close enough is not good enough to run a multi-billion-dollar industry.
That has sent not only the three racing codes but other interested parties scurrying to try to find better recommendations for the all-important board of TAB NZ.
Robertson, who is also the deputy Prime Minister, put racing bosses on notice this week by refusing to appoint the three people put forward by the codes to the TAB NZ board, the sort of recommendations often rubber-stamped in the past.
"The process to date has yielded some good candidates, but the selection panel has recommended that I broaden the search and I agree," said Robertson. "This is a significant decision for the future of racing in this country and I am determined to get it right. While this does mean there will be a delay, I have confidence in the interim board, and that we will find the best people to guide the future of the TAB."
In other words, find the best people for the job rather than people you feel comfortable with.
Robertson took the advice of a three-person selection panel comprising Liz Dawson, Alan Galbraith and Anne Urlwin and clearly they were not impressed by names put forward by the codes and kindred bodies.
That is no surprise.
Two of the codes nominated former high-level employees of the former TAB at a time when it performed poorly, admittedly with an array of internal and governance issues.
But for the codes to suggest some of the people who took the racing industry to the brink of insolvency should be given even more power at the most crucial time in the industry's history was naive and reeked of self-interest.
Still, such moves should not surprise, as the three codes, and almost everybody who put forward nominations for the TAB NZ board, do so to try to secure a seat at the table, somebody to fight their battles.
Often they fall back on administrators of moderate or no success inside the racing, wagering or entertainment industry, simply people who have owned a horse, run a race club or been on another similar board but have no idea of the challenges facing the industry in a world moving at break-neck speed.
Those days have to be gone. The industry needs corporate warriors, at a level any other billion-dollar industry would feel comfortable with.
Weekend Herald sources suggest there is still a chance one or more of those nominated could make the final cut but Robertson has made it clear he would rather wait and appoint the right people.
"I expect each member of the board to have the expertise, including fiduciary and commercial experience, to enable a bright future for the racing and sports sectors," said Robertson.
Then most importantly: "Candidates need not come from within the industry, as has generally happened in the past, and I'm asking the racing codes to nominate candidates with the skills and experience to ensure best governance practises."
In other words, the man in charge wants the best people possible to run the racing industry and he doesn't care if they are racing people.
The clock is ticking. The TAB needs a board before it gets a new chief executive and it needs both soon, as major offshore moves in the gambling sector will change the dynamics of the industry here forever.
But the most important thing the industry can do is to appoint the right people to this board and not the people who got the industry here in the first place.
And the minister has now made it clear he is prepared to wait because racing's old ways of doing business are no longer acceptable.