Those eager to see Rotorua's racecourse remain open beyond the 2023/24 racing season have had their say during an industry-wide consultation.

Last month, Rotorua racing clubs were shocked by a recommendation to close the Rotorua racecourse, but they have had a chance to have their say by making submissions to the Department of Internal Affairs.

The recommendation of closure was one of several made in a report titled "Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry" overseen by top Australian racing administrator and breeder John Messara and commissioned by Racing Minister Winston Peters.

The consultation period closed on Friday and a Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said about 1600 submissions were received.


Included in the submissions were those from people involved with the Rotorua Racecourse, desperate to fight for its survival.

Racing Rotorua chief executive Damien Radesic said his submission was in favour of the racecourse not only staying open, but being the racing hub for the Bay of Plenty.

"I do think the industry needs to change and there does need to be consolidation, but they need to be realistic about that consolidation of certain racecourses. Some are far better than others.

"The public are devastated ... Everyone I've spoken to wants the place to stay open and I know of a couple hundred people who have put in submissions for it to stay open. The response to it has been good from Rotorua."

Track Racing Rotorua committee member and horse breeder Bill Pomare. Photo / File
Track Racing Rotorua committee member and horse breeder Bill Pomare. Photo / File

Track Racing Rotorua committee member and horse breeder Bill Pomare said his submission was based on the quality of the infrastructure at the Rotorua Racecourse and the work that had been done there to meet previous demands.

"Whenever we've been asked to do anything we've done it. There's good facilities for storing horses overnight, which are also used by trainers going to other events.

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"The racing club has really done all the work at the course without having to rely on NZTR (New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing)."

Rotorua district councillor Charles Sturt also made a submission backing the Rotorua Racecourse.

"I said the impact on Rotorua would be profound. It would have a huge economic impact on Rotorua because it's holiday time, particularly around Christmas, and the races are one of those events people throng to.

"I think it would be fair if they compared Rotorua with Tauranga in terms of economic viability. I understand in Tauranga, the iwi want the land back.

"I do support most of the other recommendations, I do believe the governance needs to be sorted out and each industry run its own, but the distribution of funds should be from where they are generated, not from one part of racing to another."